The county covers a 6,200-square-kilometers area with a maximum altitude of 1,200 meters on the south slope of the calcareous, crystalline Massif Central. It is constituted of an area of piedmont plains, cut by valleys ending in a coastal plain that reaches the Mediterranean sea. The hydro graphic network is composed of parallel rivers running from north to south (1,500 km of river in total) which flow into the Mediterranean Sea. There are 10 drainage basins in the network. Brackish coastal lagoons with a total surface area of 15,000 hectares, line the 90km sea coast. A wide range of aquatic environments are represented and characterized by different issues and in some cases specific vulnerabilities especially in summer; a dry season with a large influx of tourists.
A total of 5.445 employees are involved towards the whole population of 1.019.798 inhabitants living in 343 towns or villages throughout the territory. The General Council Assembly counts 49 representatives and is chaired by the president, Mr André Vezinhet and 14 vice-presidents. The budget of 1.285 billion Euros is devoted to the implementation of 6 main policies in the fields of social care, economy, territory, educational program and youth, environment, sports and culture.
Technical assistance and financial aid for local authorities investments
- Development and protection of water resources.
- Exploring for water.
- Knowledge about the County’s groundwater resources is constantly improving, with an average of 8-10 studies conducted annually for the local authorities. Due to the geographical complexity of the territory (basement domains, karst…) water research remains difficult.
- Protection of drinking water withdrawal points.
- Support for local authorities to reach the requirements of National Health and Environment Plan, with an objective of 100% of authorised withdrawal in 2010.
- Building of drinking water supply and wastewater treatment facilities for the local collectivities; to develop raw water equipments to supply agricultural and other uses.
- Master planning, studies, diagnostics and network improvement protection of drinking water supply (quantity and quality), drinking water production, transfer and treatment plants, waste water collection and treatment facilities, raw water delivery facilities (for agricultural and other uses), flood protection facilities.
- Improvement of technical and financial partnerships with the Rhône Méditerranée and Corse Water Agency under aquifer and environmental contracts.
Integrated water management by drainage basin
Respond to local needs and issues, and comply with the successive water laws, water management has been organized on a drainage basis. Programmes and management structures have been established for each drainage basin.
Production and dissemination of knowledge about water
- Herault County’s measuring networks : piezometric network, comprises approximately 25 points for measuring levels, including 11 points at which temperature and conductivity are also monitored. Groundwater quality monitoring network consitued by 39 monitoring points, including 18 for pesticides in areas under strong agricultural pressure. Through the County’s network, certain resources affected by natural (arsenic, iron) an human (nitrates, pesticides) contaminations are monitored four times a year.
- The unifying Water and Environment Data Network : a tool favouring sharing and dissemination of data on water and aquatic environments in the Hérault County
- The water and environment geographic information system : management of cartographic data associated with water and environment, production of geographic and thematic maps, representation of the unifying network’s results.
Flood risk management
- Prevent and manage the risk of flooding for 4800 km of County’s roads, 79 junior schools and more than 300 administrative buildings.
- Optimise crisis management.
- Provide assistance after natural disasters.
- Management of two large dams.
- A strategy based on participation at territorial development planning, driving integrated water policy, development of knowledge and education about the risk.
Water and sustainable development
Risk of water shortages in Hérault County; for the sustainable water management, the General council of Hérault responds by seeking new resources, favouring saving water and complying with the Water Framework Directive in order to respond to the environmental needs. The Department also seeks and adopts partnership with research and development planning organisations as well as new governance methods.
More information: www.herault.fr
Direction of the sea, seafront and water management
tel.: +33 (0) 467676505
Direction of the coordination and european affairs
tel.: +33 (0) 467676769