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Partners of the LIFE Eau&Climat project – SMAVD

Page mise à jour le 14/04/2023

logo SMAVD

The Syndicat Mixte d'Aménagement de la Vallée de la Durance (SMAVD - Durance river basin governance body) was created in 1976. It includes 13 EPCIs (Etablissement Public de Coopération Intercommunale - Public establishment for intercommunity cooperation) including the Aix Marseille Metropolis, the Regional Council, 4 departments (Alpes de Haute Provence, Hautes Alpes, Bouches-du-Rhônes et le Vaucluse) and 22 communes. 


The four main objectives of the SMAVD are: 

  • Enhancement of the Durance River: SMAVD would like to make the public rediscover the banks of the Durance, through the rehabilitation of sites and provides facilities open to the public, respectful of nature.
  • Preservation of biodiversity: the river is the habitat of many rare plant and animal species. SMAVD is strongly involved alongside all the users of the Durance in order to preserve this reservoir of biodiversity.
  • Protection against floods: the Durance is a river which can generate dangerous floods. In order to anticipate these, the SMAVD studies, designs and builds infrastructures to protect vulnerable areas. During floods, the SMAVD supports the authorities on the ground.
  • Adaptation to climate change: drinking water supply, agricultural irrigation, hydroelectric production, industries, leisure activities: this resource affects the socio-economic development of the region. The SMAVD contributes to the securing of the resource and the implementation of a local governance of its distribution.

In 2010, the SMAVD was awarded the status of EPTB (Etablissement Public Territorial de Bassin - public territorial institution of river basin) in order to facilitate exchanges between stakeholders and to coordinate the various policies for managing water and aquatic environments, in an approach to integrated watershed management. In this respect, the SMAVD is today the holder of an SAGE in the process of emerging. Consultation authorities have already been set up bringing together elected representatives, user and environmental representatives, associative players and institutional representatives. They prefigure the future Local Water Commission of the Durance.



Experience sheet on climate change adaptation and water resources management (FR)


Localisation BV Durance
Carte Durance
Source : SMAVD
  • Surface area: 14 000 km² (SAGE 11 000 km²)
  • River basin district: Rhône-Méditerranée-Corse
  • Number of SAGE supported: 1
  • SAGE involved in the LIFE Eau&Climat project: SAGE Durance
  • The territory’s issues concerning the climate change :
    • multipurpose management


SMAVD is particularly involved in the following actions:

  • Development and validation of decision support tools -> expectations and recommendations for tools
  • Mobilisation of local stakeholders -> definition of a strategy to raise awareness, communicate and popularise science on water, climate change and its consideration in the decision-making process ; development of educational support tools ; implementation and animation of actions adapted to different territories and different types of audiences, with workshops, seminars and exhibitions. A scientific mediation position has been created for a 3-year period, to reinforce communication on the water resource to different audiences by contributing to the deployment of the communication strategy (website, magazine, social networks). From January to the end of September, seasonal monitoring is proposed by the SMAVD to report on the hydrological situation, water stocks (snow cover, dams) and the consumption of the various uses. The objective is to make available to all global information on the situation of the Durance basin. Each year, a hydrological bulletin is published in October to give a hydrological assessment of the basin. To make them accessible to a larger number of people, a video version has been distributed via the syndicate's social networks. In addition, a process of mobilisation of local elected representatives has been undertaken in 2022, in the form of meetings and workshops on the theme of adaptation to climate change.
  • Facilitating access to hydro-climatic data -> the SMAVD in partnership with the TETIS and CSBIO laboratories as well as the Chambers of Agriculture is carrying out a study aimed at testing the potential of remote sensing for the production of large-scale maps: land use and irrigated surfaces. These data will be used as input data for the C3PO water resource management model, in order to evaluate the water requirements for agriculture in the Durance basin. This model will be made available to the future Local Water Commission of the SAGE to evaluate scenarios of evolution of the climate, hydrology and uses.