Viewpoint - Happy like a clam in French water

Pierre-Frédéric Ténière-Buchot
Former CEO, Agence de l'Eau Seine-Normandie (Paris, France), Vice-President 'Programme Solidarité Eau', Member of the Académie de l'Eau and of the World Water Council; pftb@free.fr

ABSTRACT: After a few lines about his personal history, the author presents the legal context for water in France in the last century, and describes the hesitant first steps of the French Agences de l'Eau during the 1970s. While the financial system of French water policy is presented in detail, the role of economic transfers between various categories of water users is underlined. Then, the general socio-political aspects of French water governance are explained. A diagram illustrating the financial decision-making procedure for water (the 'water wheel') is given. Simple advice is drawn from the experience of a CEO of a water agency: the most useful skill for a water professional is to know how to swim.

KEYWORDS: Agences de l'eau, river basin management, river basin organisation, water management