In order to accelerate the development and implementation of locally-oriented water management projects, six partners – including BRGM – have created the Aquagir collective.
3 July 2023

ANEB (the French Federation of Elected Local Officials in Areas with Catchment Basins), the Banque des Territoires, BRGM, Cercle Français de l'Eau, France Water Team and UIE (the French Union of Water Industries and Companies) have teamed up as the founding members to create the Aquagir collective, which aims to accelerate and consolidate water management projects at local level.

Mobilising local players and providing support

Aquagir's objectives are to:

  • Provide local and regional authorities with support for all their water-related projects in order to manage this precious resource based on a responsible, shared approach that will contribute to protecting the environment while ensuring the availability of water supplies for all the uses that are essential for the development of each area, in compliance with the governance principles established for managing river basins;
  • Mobilise the relevant expertise, resources and networks of partners, in synergy with the actions provided for in the French State's Water Plan and in close collaboration with the Water Agencies.

Faced with climate change and, notably, the resulting pressure this will place on water resources, local authorities and economic agents have understood the challenges their regions will need to address. But how can we ensure action is taken at the most relevant scale in order to manage local water resources effectively and find the necessary support and most suitable solutions, from the project planning stage right through to the implementation and management phases? Moreover, since regional investment is currently lagging behind requirements in the field, all the players involved in water treatment and management have welcomed the development of a new website that helps establish contacts between project owners and contractors and provides support for project implementation.

ANEB, the Banque des Territoires, BRGM, Cercle Français de l'Eau, France Water Team and UIE are already actively involved in the water sector, providing engineering support, technical and scientific expertise on water resources, developing services that are tailored to specific needs, providing technical solutions, disseminating knowledge and financing loans for infrastructures. However, given the scale of the issues linked to managing water and the impact of climate change, these key players have decided to work together to further improve and accelerate support for local authorities, and provide more effective coordination. Moreover, they want their collective commitment to send a strong message and inform the market that they can provide a simple, adapted response in every region.

Drawing on this commitment, combined with the measures set out in the French government's Water Plan, ANEB, the Banque des Territoires, BRGM, Cercle Français de l'Eau, France Water Team and UIE have launched Aquagir, a collective that aims to provide end-to-end support for water management projects in local areas, with an overall, collective and ecosystem-based vision of the issues and solutions involved.

Working closely with the local water agencies, Aquagir aims to accelerate the implementation of operational projects.

Four common objectives to provide more targeted support for local areas

In order to reduce consumption, share available resources, preserve and restore water resources and aquatic environments, renovate networks and infrastructures, ensure effective water treatment, or prevent and manage floods and droughts, local authorities need to have a detailed understanding of the water cycle, involving several areas of expertise. Moreover, to ensure the effective quantitative and qualitative management of water, they must also draw on the skills of a wide range of public and private companies and organisations. With this in mind, the collective is committed to:

  • Simplifying the project management process for local authorities throughout the entire project chain, from putting water management proposals on the political agenda to carrying out work and building infrastructures in the field.
  • Raising awareness of the tools available to improve collective water management and helping identify the players capable of implementing them.
  • Strengthening links between local stakeholders and facilitating dialogue between public players – in particular local authorities and groups of local authorities, including EPTBs (Public Regional Basin Authorities) and EPAGEs (Public authorities in charge of water management and planning) – private players and water users.
  • Facilitating decision-making by improving knowledge of water-related issues in local areas through the provision of key data (resources, uses, networks).

The first joint initiatives already in place

Aquagir is now represented through a new website, which will be initially deployed in 3 priority pilot areas – the Centre-Val-de-Loire, Hauts-de-France and Nouvelle Aquitaine regions.

The site provides various resources:

  • Practical feedback from projects to enable local players to draw inspiration from other experiences and understand how projects have been implemented in other areas. The feedback will eventually cover the entire project chain, from proposals to implementation.
  • A marketplace showcasing all the public and private, local and national services and solutions available to local authorities. Service providers can become referenced as approved providers and gain greater visibility. Local authorities can request quotes and carry out operational sourcing.

The website, which already has a support platform, will gradually be enhanced with content and digital tools to help users improve their knowledge of water resources, networks and uses. It will provide access to funding and methodological tools to help raise awareness of issues and approaches among the various stakeholders involved in the field of water.

How can you contribute to the Aquagir collective? Whether you are a public or private player in the water sector, you can get involved in this initiative by having your organisation, your expertise and your service offers referenced on the Aquagir marketplace, or by sharing your feedback, your proposals for action and best practices, as well as your diagnostic tools.

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