The transboundary regions of the western Alps have an abundance of highly diverse natural environments, from coastal regions to the Mont Blanc.
The whole area is exposed to both natural and technological risks as well as to climate change effects such as retreating glaciers, hydrogeological imbalances, gravity-related ground instability, soil erosion and increasing exposure to wildfires, flooding and coastal erosion.
Involving local populations in managing natural risks in the Alpine area
The PITEM RISK project (2018-2022) is the outcome of a decision to combine two transboundary networks in the Alcotra area, one managing natural risks, the other managing emergency situations, and both with well-proven experience.
The aims of the project are to improve capacities for action beyond borders in the ALCOTRA Alpine area straddling France and Italy, provide for communication and educational activities for the general public and training for active players, and overcome a number of operational difficulties that still arise. The most significant transboundary methods and tools will be tested in pilot zones.
The PITEM RISK project is coordinated by Italy's autonomous Aosta Valley Region with the Provence Alpes-Côte d'Azur SUD Region, the council for the Hautes-Alpes département, the fire and emergency services for the Alpes de Haute-Provence and Savoie départements, the Piedmont Region, the Turin Metropolitan Area, the CIMA Foundation and the BRGM.
The project comprises 4 thematic components and 1 coordination component:
- PITEM RISK-COM on resilience, information, society and communication
- PITEM RISK-GEST on local areas and data interoperability
- PITEM RISK-FOR on crisis management
- PITEM RISK-ACT on pilot activities
- The PITEM RISK Coordination and Communication component
A new momentum for the Regional Observatory on Major Risks in the SUD Region
In this context, the BRGM will be bringing a new momentum to the Regional Observatory on Major Risks in the SUD Region, with its co-founding partners, the DREAL for the PACA Region and the SUD PACA regional authority.
This will involve a complete redesign of the website for the Regional Observatory on Major Risks in the SUD Region, in order to make the data available not only on regulations and for information purposes, but also to display georeferenced maps thanks to interoperable data sharing with Italian sources.
The Observatory will also become a hub for natural risks observations in the region by introducing communication innovations, exchanging knowledge on natural risks with Italy and acting as a focal point for all knowledge dissemination on major risks.
Regarding the component on risks in the local area, the BRGM's activities will concentrate on processing and distributing the results of the Alcotra AD-VITAM project, which investigated the relationships between rain and landslip triggering in order to apply the scientific methodologies and models developed by the project in several pilot sites in the Alps. The aim is to improve prevention and prediction of ground movement phenomena to increase the response capacities of the services involved.
Activities planned for 2021
The PITEM project is due to continue in 2021 as part of the RISK-COM, RISK-GEST and RISK-ACT projects, and BRGM will:
- finalise its collaboration with the University of Aix-Marseille / LPED on convening focus groups to work on the perception of mountain risks (RISK-COM);
- refine communication activities through the new ORRM PACA website (RISK-COM);
- work on the interoperability of georeferenced data on the French (RiskPACA) and Italian (Geoportale) mapping platforms (RISK-GEST);
- work with the Italian Aosta Valley teams to share best practices on the use and testing of landslide models in the respective French and Italian areas (RISK-GEST);
- establish collaborative work with the School and Observatory of Earth Sciences (EOST) in Strasbourg on the Pas de l’Ours landslide in the Hautes-Alpes department through a hydro-geophysical observatory for the modelling of landslide changes (RISK-GEST and RISK-ACT);
- gather and share social and economic lessons learned on one or two recent emergencies in the Southern Alps (Clarée Valley, Guil Valley – Pas de l’Ours) in collaboration with the Hautes-Alpes Departmental Council (RISK-ACT).