Scientific actions

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Drinking water resource

MONITORING AND PREDICTING THE OCCURRENCE OF ALGAL BLOOMS

Cyanobacteria are phytoplankton species that are potentially toxic to humans. Their rapid proliferation (bloom) in Lake Geneva can have an impact on drinking water production. Most of these species have a benthic life cycle which is favoured by the improvement of water transparency.

High frequency measurements and identification of areas favourable for benthic cyanobacterial recruitment are needed to complement the annual CIPEL monitoring programme, in order to better understand and increase the reliability of predictions of algal blooms.

Climate change

PROSPECTIVE STUDY OF THE HYDROLOGY IN THE CATCHMENT AREA, INCLUDING A HYDRAULIC FLOW DIAGRAM

Changes in the hydrological regime of the Rhone, the main tributary of Lake Geneva, and of other tributaries are to be expected as a result of climate change (increased melting of glaciers, precipitation patterns). These modifications are likely to cause a cascade of changes in the functioning of the lake.

The aim is to study the evolution of the hydrology of the lake's tributaries over the next few decades (quantities of water entering the lake, their distribution over the year, evaporation, distribution in the lake, temperature), in order to anticipate potential changes in the functioning of the lake.

Climate change

IMPROVE THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE OVERALL FUNCTIONING OF THE LAKE ECOSYSTEM IN THE CONTEXT OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate change is likely to alter the nature and intensity of the interactions between the various components of the lake ecosystem. These changes will lead to an evolution of state variables that will influence the ecological state of Lake Geneva.

This action aims to assess the sensitivity of biotic and abiotic interactions to meteorological and hydrological forcing, and to acquire knowledge to anticipate the impacts of climate change, thus paving the way for an adaptation of the CIPEL's objectives and its future actions.

Waste and microplastics

QUANTIFY THE PRESENCE OF MICROPLASTICS IN LAKE GENEVA AND IDENTIFY THEIR SOURCES; DEFINE A COORDINATED MONITORING STRATEGY AT THE SCALE OF THE CATCHMENT AREA, INCLUDING POTENTIAL IMPACTS

The ubiquity of microplastics in Lake Geneva has already been demonstrated, while their impact on aquatic fauna is not yet very clear. Despite these uncertainties, CIPEL considers that the presence of microplastics in Lake Geneva should be reduced to a minimum.

In recent years, public opinion, the media and politicians have taken up the subject and a better knowledge of the situation of Lake Geneva with regard to this emerging problem will allow the CIPEL to be able to answer the questions raised.

Micropollutants

DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT A MONITORING STRATEGY FOR MICROPOLLUTANTS IN WATER, SEDIMENT AND FISH

Numerous drug residues, pesticides and industrial products are present in the waters of Lake Geneva, sediments and fish. The environmental risk of impregnation of these compartments by micropollutants needs to be assessed more precisely.

The CIPEL will take advantage of the advances made in several fields (chemical, ecotoxicological and bioindication analysis) to better interpret the existing chemical data or those that will be acquired during future analysis campaigns, and to better evaluate the trajectory of the ecological status of the lake and its tributaries.

Fish resource

ORGANISATION OF A JOINT ANNUAL MEETING BETWEEN THE CIPEL AND THE INTERNATIONAL COMMISSION IN CHARGE OF THE FISH MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR AMATEUR AND PROFESSIONAL FISHERMEN

Fishing in Lake Geneva is an emblematic ecosystem service of the lake and is an important societal, economic and heritage issue. Catches are dependent on the ecological state of the lake ecosystem and its evolution, exploitation levels and regulations.

The objective of an annual meeting is to share knowledge about the lake and the quality objectives to be reached so that fishermen can take note of this information but also share their own perception of the lake with the CIPEL scientists.

Thermal use

ASSESS THE IMPACTS AND LIMITS OF THERMAL USES OF SURFACE WATER BODIES IN THE LEMAN CATCHMENT AREA, IN THE CONTEXT OF CLIMATE CHANGE

The need to reduce our use of fossil fuels has given rise to projects based on the thermal exploitation of the waters of Lake Geneva. These projects have positive effects in terms of energy transition, but they can also have undesirable effects on the lake.

The evaluation of the potential impacts and limits of these projects will lead the CIPEL to examine the applicable regulatory requirements and their capacity to deal with possible undesirable effects, in order to propose a strategy in this respect and issue, if necessary, an adapted recommendation.

Phosphorus

DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT A STRATEGY TO CONTROL PHOSPHORUS INPUTS

The stock of phosphorus in the waters of the lake has fallen since the 1980s, as a result of a deliberate policy to reduce domestic and diffuse inputs. However, the appearance of algae blooms shows that this reduction is not sufficient.

Growing demographic pressure and climate change make it essential to control phosphorus inputs in order to maintain, if not improve, the ecological status of the lake, which contributes to the quality of the services provided.

Review and outlook

The assessment of the 3rd action plan of the CIPEL highlights two elements between 2011 and 2019: the fragility of the equilibrium of the Lake Geneva ecosystem, and the increasingly marked impact of climate change on the processes at work in this ecosystem.

This assessment calls for the continuation, and even intensification, of the control of inputs to the lake, whether of nutrients or micropollutants, for monitoring efforts to be maintained at a high level, and for the development of monitoring efforts at a high level, and to continue to develop knowledge of the processes at work in the lake. knowledge of the processes at work in the lake.

ACTION PLAN 2021-2030

The 4th CIPEL action plan is articulated around three main strategic axes, 12 themes and 29 actions

Monitoring campaigns

Discover the different monitoring campaigns of the CIPEL which aim to better understand Lake Geneva to better preserve it

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