By Maria-Helena Ramos, project leader at IRSTEA
More than twenty water managers, stakeholders, scientists and national actors in water management were sitting together for one afternoon to discuss the main achievements of the DROP project at the French national end-meeting.
The meeting was held on June 15th at the French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments, ONEMA. It was organized by the French partners of the DROP project: IRSTEA, Université Rabelais de Tours and IAV. Participants came from different institutions and attended the meeting on site and through videoconference. Besides the partners of the DROP project, there were representatives from ONEMA, regional public services responsible for the management of water bodies (DRIEE-IdF, DREAL Lorraine, EPTB Seine Grands Lacs, CRESEB Région Bretagne), Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (MEDEE), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), social science experts and engineers from the water sector.
After a brief reminder of the main objectives of the DROP project, its partners and pilot sites, the focus of the meeting was placed on the governance assessment and its main results. The GAT (Governance Assessment Tool) was first introduced with the help of the 3-min video made available in French as part of the dissemination activities of the DROP project. Then, the concepts behind the governance dimensions and qualities, which form the matrix applied by the Governance Team of the DROP project, were presented. Finally, the main conclusions and recommendations from the analysis of the results were presented. Plenty of time was given to discussions and interactions with the participants of the meeting.
In summary, the results highlighted the central role IAV has in terms of cohesion among stakeholders in the pilot area. The strong network driven by IAV for the drinking water management of the Arzal reservoir in the Lower Vilaine River Basin, and for the implementation of the SAGE management plan, has the capacity to be also used for drought management. Recommendations were elaborated towards the creation of more groups of reflection dedicated to climate change impacts and drought adaptation, in order to enhance knowledge and raise awareness about drought.
The meeting was very interesting and certainly a positive experience for the DROP project partners, who could discuss their results with stakeholders and experts. We were able to explain how the GAT proposed by the DROP project can help to identify current weakness and strengths of the water governance, and how it can be seen as an encouragement to enhance governance for drought adaptation. The discussions also showed that the lessons learnt from the project are open opportunities to apply the GAT to other sites and contexts in France.