Every year, CIPEL issues a series of guidelines for the Swiss and French governments, which are intended to improve the quality of the water in the catchment basin of Lake Geneva.
The 2013 guidelines of the International Commission for the protection of the water of Lake Geneva were approved in plenary session on 15 November 2012 at the Domaine de Marcelin in Morges (VD). They are intended for the authorities that are CIPEL’s partners: Switzerland, France, Vaud, Valais, Geneva, Haute-Savoie, Ain and the Rhône-Alpes Region.
Of the 171 existing leisure facilities inventoried in 2012 on the shores of Lake Geneva, 71 are located close to or within the limits of sites identified as being of ecological interest by the Réseau Écologique Lemanique (REL). In addition, a further 17 new projects for ports or beaches have been identified, 7 of which are located either within or close to REL sites.
On the basis of this information, CIPEL has affirmed the need to adapt nautical activities and facilities in order to limit their impact on the shores of the lake. CIPEL recommends:
- Reducing the wharfs for boats and other constricting hard surfaces in the estuaries of the water courses, which play a major role in the functioning of the ecosystem of the lake.
- Encouraging those responsible for providing protective structures (dykes) or mooring sites to limit their impact on the lake bottom, and to eliminate anchoring sites in the water with mooring buoys and chains that drag along the lake bottom, which is covered by weed beds
Given the risks that pollutants may be transferred into the surface water as a result of erosion, CIPEL advises the legislative bodies that the agricultural practices on their territory should include installing planted buffer zones. These make it possible to reduce erosion and also to reduce nitrogen run-off significantly. During winter ground cover improves the structure and hydric properties of the land – as well as reducing the growth of undesirable plants.