Decision makers at the highest level now recognize that water, especially groundwater, will be one
of the major issues in coming years. The European Commission Water Framework Directive will be transposed
in each European country. In France, a new Water Law came into effect in 2006. However, groundwater
protection is still one of the major concerns of the administration in charge of contaminated land
Groundwater protection is one of the key actions in all countries. It is integrated into the National
Plan for Health and the Environment (PNSE - Plan National Santé et Environnement).
Within the context of the European Water Framework Directive, the main objective of France is to implement
groundwater monitoring systems in industrial sites. The sites concerned are:
•the polluted and potentially polluted sites listed in the BASOL database (http://basol.ecologie.gouv.fr)
•sites where soil and groundwater contamination might rapidly occur in case of dysfunction
Groundwater quality monitoring makes it possible to detect pollution very rapidly and limit the
extent of impacts and remediation costs. Monitoring might also provide a guarantee when a site is
sold or activity ceases.
Groundwater monitoring can be included in the constraints attached to a given site. In this case,
obligations to act, usage restrictions or precautions to be taken can be imposed. Groundwater quality
monitoring is, therefore, part of an efficient environment management system for the site owner.
The data collected will be systematically entered into the national ADES database (http://www.ades.eaufrance.fr)
in order to ensure reliability and facilitate the detection of any changes in water quality that can
only be observed over long periods.
One of the key actions of the National Plan for Health and the Environment (PNSE - Plan National pour
la Santé et l'Environnement) is to guarantee that citizens have good quality drinking water. The
National Plan intends to protect all drinking water wells withdrawing groundwater.
A first stage, at the end of which 80 % of the wells were to be protected, was to be completed in 2008
and 500 new wells were protected in 2004.
The main objective for the DDASS (Direction Départementale des Affaires Sanitaires et Sociales)
is to protect 1,000 new wells.
The Inspectorate of Classified Installations is in charge of the widespread implementation of
groundwater monitoring of contaminated industrial sites. On June 15, 2005, 80 % of these industrial
sites were being monitored.
The National Plan also includes major studies of pesticides (and their derivatives) in order to
improve groundwater protection. These measures will be specifically adapted to the case of mercury
contamination in French Guiana (South America).
The Water Law aims:
•to give government officials, local communities and stakeholders tools:
•to reach ecological quality objectives for water (in compliance with the European Commission
Framework Directive of December 22, 2000, transposed into French law by the Water Law of April 21,
•to reach a better balance between water resources and needs from a perspective of sustainable
development of economic activities
•to foster dialogue between stakeholders
•to help towns and cities adapt drinking water supply and sanitation services to the new stakes:
•transparency for users
•solidarity with those in need
The EU Water Framework Directive (Directive cadre 2000/60/CE et circulaire DCE 2003/07 relatives
au cahier des charges pour l'évolution des réseaux de surveillance des eaux souterraines) requires
that European states implement groundwater monitoring systems.
The Public Health Policy Law of August 9, 2004 (the Decree for the enforcement of this law was to be
adopted in 2005) facilitates the acquisition of land and simplifies protection-zone implementation
processes in order to protect groundwater wells.
The Directive of November 26, 2004 defines the role of the Departmental Health and Social Services
Office (DDASS - Direction Départementale des Affaires Sanitaires et Sociales) as a Public Administration
in charge of groundwater wells (authorization and control).
The Circular DGS/SD7A no. 2005/59 of January 31, 2005 asked Prefects to set up Departmental programmes
to protect all wells before 2010.
A new Water Law came into effect on December 31, 2006 to transpose the EU Water Framework Directive.
Site Project Funding
The National Plan for Health and the Environment is financed by the central government (Ministries
of Ecology, Health, Labour, and Research).
No further funding information available on the EUGRIS system