Water, a common good to manage in order to meet everyone's needs
The reality of climate change has, for a long time, no longer been up for debate. Areas in France such as the county of Puy-de-Dôme are heavily concerned, and the ups and downs of the weather are more frequently hurting the region's life that can be affected both by an excess and a lack of water, sometimes within the same year. Water, essential for life, is a key resource for economic, social, and environmental development. Limagrain, which has been highly involved in its home region since its founding, supports the project initiated by the county's Chambers of Commerce and Agriculture to adopt measures for the sustainable management of water with a global, concerted, and multi-use approach, and to encourage initiatives in favor of this resource and its efficient use. Water is a common good that must be managed to meet the needs of all users, without putting them in competition with one another.
Water, an essential resource for regional vitality
Water is a vital resource for all regions and is everyone's concern when it involves its management and access to it. There needs to be a way to store it when it falls as rain or snow, and use it efficiently when needed. In Puy-de-Dôme in particular, there is enough rainfall but inhabitants see it pass through without being able to store it. Over the past 5 years, this county has experienced several periods of drought which, most notably, impacted some municipalities' access to potable water, tourist and leisure activities, wildlife and agricultural activities. However, several periods of heavy rain negatively affected activities in the region due to rivers bursting their banks in inhabited, agricultural, or wild areas. These extreme periods have followed each other in the same year and hurt the area twice over.
A river out of its banks
An approach initiated in Puy-de-Dôme to mobilize all users
In this context, knowing that water availability is vital for regional vitality and competitiveness, the county's Chambers of Commerce and Agriculture, in their role as representatives of the main users, initiated a shared approach to promote « sustainable water management, based on a multi-use approach and two parallel actions: economizing and increasing the resource ». At a time when the framework of public policies on water resource management is currently being determined for the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and the Loire Brittany Basin, this approach seeks to participate in the mobilization and dialog of all users to build a collective development project for the region oriented towards increasing the resource and calling on all water users to undertake actions for more efficient usage.
D I   D Y O U   K N O W ?
limagrain In Limagne, there is an average rainfall of between 530 mm and 680 mm and 2,3 billion m³ of water per year pass through the region, mainly in the Allier river. France barely stores 5% of rainfall.
The Allier river
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Water, a key resource to guarantee the future of agriculture in the region
Limagrain, an economic player in the region, supports this approach. Water is a priority investment topic for the Cooperative, its current or future integrated chains, and guarantees the future of the Limagrain Cooperative's farmer members. Over the last 5 years, agricultural activities have been heavily disadvantaged by drought. Limagne had a terrible year in 2019 with a drought that was unprecedented in its severity. All of Limagrain's production suffered; wheat, for example, had a 25% loss in yield. The year 2020 remains uncertain; last April, Emmanuel WARGON, Secretary of State with the Ministry of the Ecological and Solidarity Transition, already ranked Puy-de-Dôme as one of the 7 counties with a “very likely” risk of drought. It is becoming urgent and vital to better manage water excess and deficits together.
Buried drip irrigation experimentation
In this regard, a lack of collective solutions that meet these challenges will compromise the future of farmers, agriculture and related agri-food industries, which help to shape the landscape, the regional configuration, and its economic and social vitality. At the same time, Limagrain has been undertaking measures for more efficient water use for several years. There are multiple pathways: surface drip irrigation experimentation, the use of weather radar data to refine the modeling of the balance between water intake and plant needs, and working on soils to improve water retention.

Since the spring, a moisture-binding experiment (plant matter that retains water in the soil) has been in place with 11 of the Cooperative's farmers, and in the fall, buried drip irrigation trials for field seed production will begin with 3 farmers.
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The Loire Brittany Basin covers 155,000 km², or 28% of France. This river basin is made up of the Loire watershed and its tributaries, the la Vilaine river basin, the Brittany and Vendée coastal basins, and the Poitevin marshlands.
Learn more:
The natural territory of the Loire-Bretagne area (french)
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