The spread of contamination within an aquifer formation will depend on:
•the nature of the pollutant
•the physical properties of the medium
•the possible interactions between the pollutant and the solid phase
•the possible mixture with waters of a different nature
It is very important that the exchange of water between groundwater and surface water bodies (the aquifer system) be well understood. Water flows from one
to the other, gaining or losing chemical properties, making these media interdependent. This was emphasized in the Water Law of January 3, 1992 by the notion
of water resource indivisibility.
Groundwater must be integrated into a global management of water resources.
The integrated management of water in a river basin is organized by the SDAGE (Schéma Directeur d'Aménagement et de Gestion des Eaux - Water Development and
Management Master Plan).
The Water Law emphasizes the need for water resource management that:
•conciliates socio-economic development and the protection of aquatic environments
•balances the various uses of water in order to guarantee sustainable development
This approach must be:
•global, in order to integrate the whole environment
•supported by an institutional organization able to organize the collective management of the environment, groundwater and their uses, including human
Each of France's six major river basins has been studied to determine its current state and trends, and development, nature-conservation or remediation
The SDAGE are a concrete example of this new management. They present a coherent geographical plan for water resources and the natural environment, have
a legal status and have an influence on decisions taken by the central government and local communities.
The SDAGE make it possible to identify groundwater aquifers that should be managed in priority due to their strategic interest and their potential.
The principal water legislation in France is the Water Law of January 3, 1992 that created the SDAGE (Article 3). http://www.ineris.fr/aida/?q=consult_doc ...
However, groundwater protection has long been a concern (e.g. the Law of July 14, 1856 concerning the Declaration of groundwater as being in the public interest
and protection zones around springs – Inspection – General operating conditions for spas).
Local communities are responsible for the quality of drinking water as a 'common national heritage' according to the Environment Code (Article L210-1).
According to the first Water Law (December 6, 1964) and the Water Law of January 3, 1992, the creation of protection zones is an obligation – all wellheads are
declared to be in the public interest. If this is not done, the water company, the town mayor or the central government can be held responsible.
Three protection zones exist, according to the Public Health Code (Article L.1321-2).
1. The immediate protection zone
The immediate protection zone generally extends a few tens of metres around the wellhead. This land must be owned by the town.
2. The near-field protection zone
This zone generally extends a few tens of hectares around and hydraulically upgradient of the wellhead. The objective is to protect the wellhead from the
subsurface migration of pollutants.
In this zone, industry or any activity, installation or storage can be forbidden or regulated if it might present a risk for the water quality (manure spreading,
3. The far-field protection zone
This protection zone is optional. It should enable the reinforcement of the protection against permanent or diffuse pollution. The far-field protection
zone corresponds to the groundwater recharge zone and, in some cases, to the entire river basin.
The implementation of protection zones includes both technical and administrative phases. Protection zones are determined after a hydrogeological study
has been done by a certified hydrogeologist. Their prescription is made by a declaration of public interest (or utility). This process is described in the Circular
of July 24, 1990.
The Order of September 11, 2003 describes regulatory requirements for the declared wellhead. (Arrêté du 11 septembre 2003 portant application du décret
n° 96-102 du 2 février 1996 et fixant les prescriptions générales applicables aux prélèvements soumis à déclaration en application des articles L. 214-1 à
L. 214-6 du code de l'environnement et relevant des rubriques 1.1.1, 2.1.0, 2.1.1 ou 4.3.0 de la nomenclature annexée au décret n° 93-743 du 29 mars 1993 modifié.).
This order describes the conditions for: