Technical actions

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ACTION PLAN 2021-2030

The 4th Action Plan is structured around three main strategic axes, 12 themes and 29 actions

The technical actions concern 13 actions divided into 10 themes.

As with all the actions, they respond to three strategic axes:

  • Guarantee the water resource while controlling the impact of the uses of the lake
  • Continue to improve the quality of water resources and aquatic environments
  • Stimulating adaptation strategies to climate change

Recreational water activities and bathing water

IMPACTS OF WATER-BASED ACTIVITIES ON THE COASTLINE

The demand for recreational space and leisure activities at the interface with natural environments is constantly increasing, and aquatic environments, and Lake Geneva in particular, are no exception to this rule. These water sports activities generate different levels of disturbance to aquatic ecosystems.

The challenge for the CIPEL is to communicate effectively on the potential negative impacts of nautical activities on natural aquatic environments, and to propose tools and measures to reduce these impacts.

Drinking water resource

EXCHANGE PLATFORM ON THE MONITORING OF DRINKING WATER QUALITY AND TREATMENT

The Lake Geneva is used as a drinking water supply by nearly one million people living along its banks. The various players involved in monitoring the resource and drinking water are constantly striving to adapt monitoring to the development of analytical techniques and improved knowledge of the pressures.

There is currently no body or platform in charge of relaying between the research carried out on the lake waters and the water producers/distributors who could be interested in the evolution of the research. The CIPEL wishes to develop and promote the exchange of information and know-how on the level of analysis techniques and substances researched (which may be present), with water distributors and the Swiss and French health authorities, by creating a collaborative platform.

Climate change

CONTINUE AND STRENGTHEN COMMUNICATION TO USERS ON THE CONSEQUENCES OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Several changes in the operating conditions of the lake ecosystem are due to varying degrees and more or less directly to climate change. These evolutions lead on the one hand to the implementation of adaptation or protection/preservation measures of the services rendered by the ecosystem, and on the other hand possibly to modifications in the perception of the lake.

The appropriation of these adaptation measures by the users of ecosystem services is one of the conditions for their success; it is therefore essential to explain them upstream, and to collect the opinions of users on their implementation.

Rainwater

PROMOTE URBAN WATER MANAGEMENT AND THE FIGHT AGAINST SEALING AND CHRONIC POLLUTION

In urban areas, runoff is often conveyed through a network of pipes before being discharged into the receiving environment. Stormwater is likely to carry contaminants, accumulated pollution from surfaces or pollution from sewerage systems. Stormwater discharges can also cause significant disruption to the hydrological regime of receiving water bodies.

In recent urban contexts, the so-called "at-source" management of stormwater is widely encouraged as a relevant solution to overcome the potential shortcomings of centralised sewerage systems and as a means of reducing the effects of development on the water cycle.

Wastewater

PROMOTE A HARMONISED WAY OF MONITORING WASTEWATER DISCHARGES IN WET WEATHER AND PRESCRIBE TARGETS FOR LIMITING SUCH DISCHARGES

To compensate for the inadequacy of the wastewater transport networks during intense rainfall, specific arrangements are planned so that in the event of overloading due to parasitic clear water, part of the water can be discharged from the pipes. The discharged wastewater which then reaches the watercourses, directly or after a simple screening, or even a settling tank, represents a non-negligible contribution of pollution for the natural environment.

They are estimated at about 10% of the total loads discharged by collective sanitation systems, but the data remain incomplete. The survey carried out by the CIPEL in 2015-2016 among 116 wastewater treatment plants in the Lake Geneva basin highlights the significant proportion of overflows that do not have a discharge monitoring system.

Wastewater

TO DEVELOP COORDINATED CROSS-BORDER ACTION TO REDUCE THE DISCHARGE OF MICROPOLLUTANTS FROM URBAN AND INDUSTRIAL WASTEWATER

Micropollutants are substances which, even in very low concentrations, can have harmful effects on aquatic organisms and living organisms in general. In the area of public sewers, the main sources of micropollutants in wastewater are households, health care centres, trade, industry, roads and road outbuildings when they are connected.

Micropollutants in wastewater are not easily degradable and mostly pass through the treatment plant as they are or end up in the water via storm drains. They can also come from diffuse sources.

Exogenous and invasive flora and fauna

ESTABLISH A COMPREHENSIVE MANAGEMENT STRATEGY FOR EXOGENOUS AND UNDESIRABLE FLORA AND FAUNA SPECIES

The number of non-native species colonising aquatic environments is constantly increasing. These species are expanding at the expense of native biodiversity. The damage caused by invasive alien species is increasing.

Measures are needed to limit the spread of invasive and/or undesirable alien species, or even to eradicate them locally where this is realistically possible.

Micropollutants

TO ENHANCE KNOWLEDGE AND PROMOTE THE EXCHANGE OF GOOD PRACTICES BETWEEN AGRICULTURAL ACTORS IN FAVOUR OF AGRICULTURE THAT RESPECTS WATER QUALITY

Plant protection products used to protect crops in the Lake Geneva basin are likely to be found in water, sediments and fish, and to present a risk, even at low concentrations, for humans and the environment. Monitoring of the waters of Lake Geneva shows that many chemical substances can be detected in sometimes significant quantities.

The actions undertaken by the stakeholders of the CIPEL, in particular to reduce the use of phytopharmaceutical products, to develop organic farming and agro-ecology and to ensure the implementation of the best available techniques, testify to the efforts made to limit the transfer of micropollutants from agriculture to the natural environment. These actions must be renewed, strengthened and optimised.

Micropollutants

TO SHARE THE MODALITIES OF ACTION TO REDUCE THE PRESENCE OF DRUG RESIDUES IN THE AQUATIC ENVIRONMENT

Active pharmaceutical ingredients affect, among other things, the reproductive function of fish and amphibians, but also the behaviour of animals. However, there are no reference values to date that would allow a concrete assessment of their impact. However, their presence in the environment is undesirable, especially in waters intended for drinking water supply, such as those of Lake Geneva. However, the presence and impact of active ingredients in water are not well known to the general public.

The CIPEL can play a role in raising the awareness of the different actors, and in particular of the public authorities and the population.

Micropollutants

DISSEMINATING THE RESULTS OF MICROPOLLUTANT MONITORING AND RISK REDUCTION MEASURES

Many micropollutants (pesticides, medicines, cosmetics) have been measured in the waters of Lake Geneva, in sediments and in fish since the mid-2000s. This monitoring has shown that many chemical substances were detectable in sometimes significant quantities and that they could represent a risk, particularly for ecosystems, but also for human health.

With its monitoring and study programme, CIPEL has the potential to raise awareness in this field. To play this role well, it needs a communication strategy that relies on effective and professional instruments.

Thermal use

TO MONITOR THE POSSIBLE EFFECTS OF THE FACILITIES ON THE LAKE ECOSYSTEM

In a desire to reduce the carbon footprint, the use of so-called "green" technologies is expanding rapidly and hydrothermal energy is one of them. Numerous projects for exploiting the thermal potential of the lake have already seen the light of day or are in the process of being launched, in addition to or instead of traditional thermal uses.

However, on a number of environmental issues, it is well known that significant undesirable effects can result from the addition of a large number of projects with individually negligible effects. In the context of global warming, which will have the effect of modifying the thermal characteristics of Lake Geneva, this subject deserves all the more attention.

Aquatic vegetation / Lake Geneva shoreline / Renaturation

TO ESTABLISH AN OVERVIEW OF THE PROGRESS OF THE RENATURATION OF THE LAKE AND RIVER BANKS AND TO ENCOURAGE RENATURATION

In the case of Lake Geneva, where the anthropisation of the shoreline is particularly high (one of the highest of the large Alpine lakes), the restoration of its natural transitional environments is a key long-term challenge, the importance of which will increase with the effects of climate change.

On the watercourses of the Lake Geneva basin, diagnoses of the current state exist and have made it possible to prioritise the actions to be undertaken. Renaturation programmes, including the restoration of fish migration, have been drawn up and actions have been undertaken for several years, but there are still many projects to be carried out. These efforts will have to be continued and probably significantly increased to respond to the foreseeable effects of ongoing climate change.

Aquatic vegetation / Lake Geneva shoreline / Renaturation

CONTINUE TO COMMUNICATE ON THE STATE AND IMPORTANCE OF THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT AT THE LEVEL OF LAKE GENEVA

The shores of Lake Geneva have a great deal of residual natural wealth that needs to be preserved and renatured. The landscapes of the lake and its shores make it a very popular holiday destination but also a place that is very conducive to many human activities. In a context of strong urbanisation pressure, preserving and restoring the environmental balance is a priority.

Consultation and information are necessary for a sustainable management and a better appropriation and preservation of these spaces by the communities, the inhabitants and the users.

ACTION PLAN 2021-2030

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

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