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Dr. Dominique ROLLIN
Secretaire General
Association Fran'aise pour l'Etude des Irrigations et du Drainage (AFEID)
361 rue Jean-Fran'ois Breton
BP 5095

Tel : +, +33 4 67 04 63 37
Fax : +
Email : dominique.rollin@agriculture.gouv.fr
Website : http://afeid.montpellier.cemagref.fr


Mr. Jean-Yves Grosclaude
President, AFEID
Bureau de l’AFEID
361 rue JF Breton BP 5095

Tel : +33 4 67 04 63 16
Email : presidentafeid@irstea.fr
Website : http://www.canal-de-provence.com/


Mr. François BRELLE
Vice President Hon., ICID
Président, AFEID
Directeur Technique Ingénierie - Société du Canal de Provence
Le Tholonet - CS 70064
13182 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 05

Tel : +33 4 42667076, +33 4 42667080
Email : fr.brelle@orange.fr


Dr. Alain Vidal
Vice President Hon., ICID
CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food
P.O. Box 2075, Colombo
Sri Lanka

Tel : +94 11 288 0153, +33 4 67 04 75 77
Mob : +94 7 73 95 09, +33 6 86 07 89
Fax : +94 11 278 4083
Email : a.vidal@cgiar.org
Website : http://www.waterandfood.org


Mr. Bernard Vincent
Ingénieur - Chercheur / Researcher
Irstea - Centre d’Antony
Unité de Recherche Hydrosystèmes Continentaux Anthropisés - Ressources, Risques et Restauration
UR. HYCAR / HYCAR Research Unit
Equipe / Team ARTEMHYS
1 rue Pierre-Gilles de Gennes CS 10030
92761 ANTONY Cedex

Tel : +33 (0)1 40 96 60 63
Email : bernard.vincent@irstea.fr

Associate Editor - EB-JOUR ; Chair - WG-SDRG ; Member - TF-MTD


Mr. Francois BRELLE
Vice President Hon., ICID
Address as above

Member - TF-VE, WG-IDM


Dr. Marcel Kuper
Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche
Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD)
Umr G-Eau, F-34398 Montpellier

Email : Marcel.kuper@cirad.fr

Associate Editor - EB-JOUR


Dr. Sami Bouarfa
IRSTEA 361 rue JF Breton
BP 5095 34196
Montpellier Cedex 5

Email : sami.bouarfa@irstea.fr

Member - ERWG


Mr. Franck Sanfilippo
Provisional Member

Email : Franck.Sanfilippo@canal-de-provence.com

Member - WG-IOA


Dr. Severine Tomas
For Address See S.No. 1 Above.

Email : severine.tomas@irstea.fr

Associate Editor - EB-JOUR


Mr. Bruno Molle
For Address See S.No. 1 Above.

Observer - WG-SON-FARM


Mr. Dominique Rollin
Secretaire General
Association Fran'aise pour l'Etude des Irrigations et du Drainage (AFEID)

Email : dominique.rollin@agriculture.gouv.fr

Member - TF-WWF9

Links of Interest
ICID Strategy for Implementing Sector Vision - Water for Food and Rural Development and Country Position Papers, 2000

Directory Contents..


France is the largest country of Western Europe in terms of area and earlier ranked second only to the erstwhile Union of Soviet Socialist Republic among all of the European nations. It lies in western Europe, with coastlines on the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. The country borders Spain in South-West, Italy, Switzerland in South-east, Germany, Belgium & Luxemburg in north, it is situated across the English Channel from Great Britain and occupies a geographical area of 543,965 km2 with its capital in Paris, the largest city in the country. The official language is French. Paris attracts artists and writers of all nationalities and many great artists have produced their finest masterpieces there. It is a city renowned for its beauty and magnificent architecture. The French are famous for their enjoyment of life. The country is not only famous for its beautiful and attractive architecture, it also has rich and powerful heritage. The snow-capped Alps form the border between France and Italy. Sunny beaches and steep cliffs stretch along the French coast on the Mediterranean Sea. Many regions of the country have fields of golden wheat. Measured by exports, it stands fifth among the countries of the world in its trade with other nations. The population of the country is about 56 million with about one-sixth of the French people living in the Paris metropolitan area. Fertile soils are the country&&146;s most important natural resource and more than 90 per cent of France&&146;s total land area is fertile. France has major deposits of iron ore and bauxite, other natural resources of the country are coal, petroleum, natural gas, and potash etc. The GNP per capita of the country is US$ 23,470 (1994).


Physiography and Climate


France has wide variations in geography. The northern and western regions consist mainly of flat or rolling plains. Hills and mountains rise in the eastern, central, and southern parts. The country is comprised of ten main land regions, the Brittany-Normandy Hills, the Northern France Plains, the Northeastern Plateaus, the Rhine Valley, the Acquitanian Lowlands, the Central Highlands, the French Alps and Jura Mountains, the Pyrenees Mountains, the Mediterranean Lowlands and Rhone-Saone Valley, and Corsica.


The Climate varies widely among the various regions of France and the differences in climate are closely related to the distance of the land from the Atlantic Ocean or the Mediterranean Sea. The westerly winds that blow in from the Atlantic strongly influence the climate of western France. Away from the Atlantic, to the east, the climate changes sharply between seasons and these inland regions have hot summers and cold winters, with medium rainfall throughout the year. The mountainous regions receive the most precipitation mostly in summer. Heavy winter snows fall in the Alps and Jura Mountains, and huge glaciers are found in the Alps. Along the Mediterranean Sea, the lowlands have hot, dry summers and mild winters with some rainfall.




The country is the largest agricultural producer in Western Europe and one of the world&&146;s leading exporters of farm products. All the farms have electricity, and most have modern farm machinery with an average holding of 28 hectares. Nearly two-thirds of French farm income comes from meat and dairy animals. In dairy-farms most of the milk is used in making butter and cheese. The farmers have always raised some poultry and pigs, and have specialized in large-scale production of these animals. One-third of France&&146;s land is crop growing. Wheat is the major single crop grown at large farms in the Paris Basin and in the north. In southern France, most of the grapes produced are used in making wine being of high quality that come from several regions. In the Mediterranean region, grapes are used for cheaper wines. Other important crops of the country are apple, potatoes, sugar beet, while livestock-feed crops are barley, maize, oats, and rape-seed, etc. The other important crops are beans, carrots, cauliflower, cherries, flowers, peas, peaches, pears, sunflower seeds, and tomatoes.


Irrigation and Water Resources


Annual consumption of water in irrigation is about one third of the total consumption in France, i.e. 2.4 out of 8 km3. These volumes represent a very limited part of the total precipitation volume for France (480 km3). It is as well a fraction of the quantum that can be mobilised (150 km3). The effect of water withdrawals for irrigation on the natural system is negative, from a strictly quantitative point of view. This imbalance between limited water resources and a growing demand for water is becoming socially unacceptable. The growing scarcity of water that can be mobilized at a low cost, along with a higher concern for the environmental impact of major hydraulic structures, and a decrease of investment from the state, has led to change in policies.


In order to control the uses of water, France is taking measures to combat the growing competition for water and financial resources, the focus is on controlling the demand and uses of water. The challenge for agriculture today is to manage the demand for water, in the most equitable manner within the farms, to increase the efficiency of the water use, to improve agricultural practices and to minimize the impacts on the natural environment.


Water, Food and Land Management


Supplying the food for the population has always been a long-term target for the development of new infrastructure for water resources mobilization and distribution.


Technical progress and modernization of farming systems has helped the country in becoming a net exporter of agricultural products. The agricultural activity is thus an important component of the economical national development and of the policy in rural development.


A balanced development, within rural areas, and preserving the natural system, also benefits for leisure activities. Actions have been launched to create and maintain sufficient employment (agricultural, industrial, services) in small cities and in rural areas. Water is granted the status of an important challenge, especially in dry zones, like the Mediterranean regions. Water is needed for agriculture (irrigation), for cities and for the development of some industries (food processing), and tourism as also to support the quality of natural systems, bathing, domestic supply to tourist area, etc.


The control of water in agriculture provides stability by reducing the variability of water inherent in climatic sources, allowing a balanced land use. The water projects undertaken during recent decades have helped maintaining economical equilibrium in rural areas. French agriculture is today extremely dynamic and efficient. In the southern regions, water infrastructure has been able to compensate climatic insufficiency.


The agricultural sector has a share of 6% in the National Product, along with forestry and the food processing industry that supports and maintains the economical rural activity covering some 85 % of the national territory, including the mountains. This development has been possible due to improvement of farming system techniques, that include the control of water to the soil and plants.


Irrigation is deemed to be a regularity factor in agriculture, in France. The area under Irrigation has increased constantly in recent decades. It reached 1.9 Millions Ha in 1997, or 6% of the agricultural domain and covers one out of seven farms. In terms of area the dominant crop is corn (43%). Out of the 35 Mtons of wheat produced each year, France exports 15 to 20 Mtons.


Institutional Improvement in Water Management


Water management in France is characterized by a clear demarcation of the roles of the State (regulation, control and policy), Basin Committees (general trends for future management), Water Agencies (solidarity among share holders) and financial incentives in line with the recommendation of the Basin Committee, and local management companies.

In France, two major laws have recently modernized the legal framework; one is on water, the other on agriculture. The protection of natural systems is considered as a use of water similar to others.


Basin institutional bodies, basin committees and water agencies, established by the 1964 water law in France, have improved and adapted with the times, as a result of the 1992 law. Currently there is a new law under preparation that aims to strengthen the solidarity principle within these bodies.


The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is a pillar of the constitution of the European Union. This policy constrains the development of national agricultural aspect of each member of the union as well as the demand for irrigation water. Initially the policy was aimed at generating a significant production growth. It has allowed security in farmer&&146;s incomes during the sixties and the seventies. The inflexion in this policy came in the eighties, when its success generated huge agricultural surpluses. At the end of the eighties, the French agricultural department made its policy more explicit in its concerns about the environment. The trends within the common agricultural policy (CAP), which avoid targeting growth yields and aim rather to control the quantity produced, have not led so far to a decrease in the irrigation demand.


A new approach to agriculture: landuse management


The new agricultural law of July 1999, redefined the legal framework for agricultural activities, and extended the missions of farmers to that of landuse, environment and territory management. It specifically defines and enumerates objectives aimed at protecting the environment. For instance, it specifies, for the farmers who irrigate, a special commitment for reasonable irrigation practices.


Diversified irrigation management modes


France is adopting three main modes of management of irrigation infrastructure. The choice between them results from specific climatic features but is also linked to the historical development of the country. The three modes are: Associative Management, Regional Development Companies (Sociétés d&&146;Aménagement Régional SAR) and individual irrigation schemes.


For very old developments in the south of France, in the 19th century and even before, one found mainly associative structures for management. These grouped landowners share equipment in an ASA (Association Syndicale Autorisée - Water User Association). These associations have been created to undertake collective works, as well as to manage the equipment and maintain the structures once in operation. Today, one finds about 1800 associations with collectively 134 000 members and covering an irrigated area of 450 000 ha.


Maintenance used to be regularly carried out in the past, often through collective {co-operative} works involving each associate. Today, maintenance faces technical and financial difficulties that will require some associations to be fully modernised.


An important part of the recent development of irrigation is based on individual initiatives. These may be the creation of new resources using a farm reservoir or more often the withdrawal from shallow groundwater or direct offtakes from rivers. In terms of cultivated area, this type of irrigation is in the majority with1.2 million Ha. Maintaining an acceptable water quality in these streams requires that nearby shallow groundwater withdrawals and direct river offtakes are planned and controlled. The collective management of individual irrigation schemes therefore became a very important challenge by the end of the eighties, particularly in areas suffering from high quantitative deficits, for example in the South West of France (Gascogne, Charente,&&133;). The solution of acute conflicts arising in these basins required the development of a new approach to integrate management as well as the implementation of specially adapted economical tools (quotas and tariffs).


Through management tools irrigation aims to either ensure a reliable response to the demand for water, using the resource available, and/or to balance the accounts of the operators in charge of transport and distribution of water to users.


Technical progress


During the era of high growth of irrigated areas, the trend has been to classify a hierarchy of irrigation techniques according to their assumed level of performance. Thus localised (or drip) irrigation has been assumed to perform more efficiently than sprinkler irrigation, and the latter more efficient than surface irrigation. After years of practical experience in the use of all these techniques, it is now felt that this assumption is not so clear. There is no perfect technique for irrigation, and what is important is the appropriate adaptation of the equipment to the site constraints, the nature of soil the crop, etc.. In some cases, sprinkler irrigation can be more efficient than localised irrigation. The main factor contributing to the performance lies in controlling the supply to the crop whilst using other water resource inputs effectively and in conjunction with irrigation. Irrigation control is now recognised as a major factor in the performance.

For main system management (storage, transport and distribution infrastructure), important progress has been recorded during the last forty years or so, in methods of regulation and in the automatic control of structures (Dynamic regulation, remote control, and telemetry).


Flood control


Recent massive floods (November 1999) in the South of France (Aude, Tarn and Pyrénées Orientales) have taught, in a cruel way, how floods can have devastating material and human consequences, particularly flash floods.

A full protection against flooding is impossible {or prohibitively expensive}. It is recognized that such events will occur from time to time and it can only be estimated, on average, how often they will occur. However, one may not be in a position to anticipate them because they come without warning. Whatever the techniques used, the economic resources employed and the human will, no physical infrastructure will guarantee complete protection from flooding and be universally acceptable. Land-wise management is also being exercised for flood control. The goal to control the risks of flooding by strengthening the flood prevention policy for upstream watersheds, using real time flood forecasting and management. The agricultural domain is thus likely to be encroached upon for flood alleviation expansion.


ICID and France


France became the member of ICID in 1953 and since then has been actively participating in the activities of the Commission. Two of the members of the French National Committee have been the Presidents of ICID. They are Mr. P. Danel (1963-66) and Mr. R. Darves-Bornoz (1978-1981). At present, Mr. François BRELLE is the Vice President of ICID. Six of the members of the French National Committee have been the Vice Presidents of ICID. They are Mr. G. Drouhin (1955-57), Mr. R. Darves-Bornoz (1974-77), Mr. M. Delavalle (1983-86), Mr. G. Manuellan (1988-90), Late Dr. H. Tardieu (1994-97), and Dr. Alain Vidal (2003-2006). The French National Committee has organized various ICID events which includes: 32nd IEC and 11th Congress held in Grenoble, France in 1981, 8th European Regional Conference, Aix-en-Provence, France in 1971, 54th IEC Meeting, Montpellier, France in 2003 and 24th European Regional Conference, Orleans, France in March 2011.These events were highly successfull. Now, the 66th International Executive Council Meeting will be held at Montpellier, France in October 2015.


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