Union organization Environment Division

Protecting the aquatic environment, improving lake water quality, taking into account the "exhaussement" phenomenon at the tail of the embrunais reservoir, as well as better management of water resources on the scale of the Durance watershed, are all environmental issues at the heart of the problems addressed by the Syndicat Mixte d'Aménagement et de Développement de Serre-Ponçon (S.M.A.D.E.S.E.P.). The S.M.A.D.E.S.E.P. is well aware of the environmental importance of protecting the Serre-Ponçon water resource on a regional scale, and is working to implement a general policy to improve the quality of water and natural environments, as part of its statutory environmental remit.

In order to preserve the quality of the water in the reservoir, S.M.A.D.E.S.E.P. is already implementing a policy to reduce the risks of pollution byimproving effluent discharges into the natural environment and bringing thesanitation system up to standard. Every ten years on average, it also monitors the quality of lake water, with the aim of studying the ecological transformation of an original riparian environment into a hydroelectric lake environment. In compliance with European Directive n°2006/7/CE on bathing water quality, it has also just launched a study to "draw up vulnerability profiles for the Serre-Ponçon bathing areas" (see CCTP), designed to assess the risks of bathing water pollution, within the framework of active bathing management and preventive beach closures.

In preparation for the watershed contract, the S.M.A.D.E.S.E.P. has taken on the task of drawing up a "Global Management Plan for the Upper Durance" (see CCTP), designed in particular to establish the objective profile of the watercourse on the upstream Durance, and then to define a management and maintenance plan in accordance with article L 215-15 of the French Environment Code. The definition of such a management plan is all the more necessary for the elaboration of the Watershed Contract as it is now necessary to adapt the maintenance of the Durance to the input of materials from the watercourses: this principle implies limiting the extraction of aggregates for the sole purpose of flood risk prevention, while meeting the challenges linked to the restoration of the ecological environment and its remarkable heritage habitats.

This physical management of the watercourse aims to improve flood risk management (to guarantee the safety of people and property), better control the input of macro-waste at the tail of the reservoir and improve the management of solid transport on the Durance. Theinterest of the S.M.A.D.E.S.E.P. is focused on reducing the environmental and health nuisances caused by the phenomena of sandheave and wind on the Chadenas plateau.

As part of the Management Plan and Watershed Contract, the S.M.A.D.E.S.E.P. will also contribute to the preservation of aquatic environments and the protection of species and natural habitats of heritage interest: pioneering active strip environments; Mediterranean riparian ecosystems; adoux; benthic and fish populations (development of artificial spawning grounds on the Serre-Ponçon reservoir)... but also to their development as tourist attractions, by organizing human activities to reduce their impact on these environments. With a view to preserving the fragile ecosystems and quality of the Serre-Ponçon water body, while at the same time sustaining economic activity, the S.M.A.D.E.S.E.P. has undertaken a "diagnostic study of the environmental situation of the waters of Serre-Ponçon" (see Port Propres study), designed to assess the impact of port facilities on the waters of Serre-Ponçon, then to improve the environmental quality of the reservoir through the implementation of structuring facilities contributing to the reduction of pollution. This strategy is in line with Serre-Ponçon's elected representatives' stated desire to promote the sustainable development of tourism on this major lake in the Southern Alps.

Finally, in order to guarantee an equitable sharing of water resources, in terms of use and quality of the resource both on Serre-Ponçon and in the middle and lower Durance, the S.M.A.D.E.S.E.P. works in concert on the scale of the Durance watershed (EPTB, SDAGE) with various regional partners (SMAVD, PNRQ, PNRV, NATURA 2000 Steppique durancien, Commission géographique Durance), and participates actively in consultation with various water stakeholders at regional level (RRGMA, SOURCE workshops, etc.).

The Serre-Ponçon Landscape Plan

Implementing theLoi Littoral (French coastal law) is a real challenge for Serre-Ponçon's local authorities. The identification of "remarkable areas", partly based on the landscape characterization of a man-made mountain reservoir, is not based on a shared vision.

This observation, which weakens the preparation of local urban planning documents, led the S.M.A.D.E.S.E.P. and its partners to imagine a global study of the slopes of the great Alpine lake. The initiative, with its fairly circumscribed objectives, met favorably with the call for projects launched in December 2012 by the Ministry of Ecology for the realization of " Landscape Plans ". Serre-Ponçon's application, selected from among 25 of the hundred or so submitted, met the main eligibility criteria defined in advance by the French government: public ownership by a local authority, a precise territory with a relevant perimeter, strong landscape issues meeting an approach established on an inter-municipal scale.

This opportunity, in the form of financial assistance of €30,000 over 2 years, supplemented by an additional €20,000 from the PACA region, has enabled us to take a broader view of the region's challenges, and to go beyond the regulatory framework of the Loi Littoral (French Coastal Law) to embrace a real ambition for the landscape.

The aim is to take a forward-looking approach to landscape evolution, and to support these transformations with a real, shared territorial project. The landscape plan necessarily comprises three components: analysis of the landscape and its dynamics, determination of landscape quality objectives, and definition of actions.

It is therefore adecision-making tool that brings together local players to collectively take ownership of Serre-Ponçon's landscape challenges. It is the basis for a genuine landscape policy which, beyond administrative boundaries, is based on a coherent, global vision of the lake and its slopes. Finally, it responds to the objectives of landscape quality, protection and enhancement, integrating an ecological dimension around the lake in line with the application of the Loi Littoral.

To achieve this, Caroline Giorgetti, a landscape designer and member of a multi-disciplinary team (urban planner, architect, naturalist), was asked to involve elected representatives, technicians and representatives of civil society in her work. From the perceived landscape to the lived landscape, the approach is designed to weave links around which to gradually build a common landscape culture.