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REVERSEAU : recovering a good ecological status of waters in the Pays de la Loire region (reconqute de la qualit de leau pour la rgion des Pays de la Loire)

Reference: LIFE19 IPE/FR/000007 | Acronym: LIFE-IP REVERSEAU



The EUs Water Framework Directive responds to a pressing need to improve water quality across Europe. It commits Member States to meeting the target of "good status" for all waters by 2027. The Pays de la Loire region is characterised by a very dense hydrographic system including 30 000 km of watercourses and large wetland areas (stretching over 250 000 ha). It is heavily affected by water pollution (agricultural, industrial, urban, etc.) and increasingly frequent extreme events such as droughts and floods. According to the 2019 situation report, only 11% of the regions surface water bodies have achieved good status (24% at the Loire-Brittany basin scale), while 25% have bad status. The report stressed that 79% of watercourses are at risk of failing to meet their environmental targets in 2027. The main issues are pesticides, hydrology, morphology, continuity and macro-pollutants in surface, ground and coastal water bodies. This has many negative consequences for biodiversity, human health and the regional economy.

The Loire-Brittany River Basin Management Plan for 2016-2021 was structured around four priorities: acting to ensure water quality; preserving and restoring aquatic environments; ensuring water quantity and sharing of water resources; and organising and managing water and aquatic environments. However, the proportion of rivers in good condition has not improved since the last inventory (2013, published in 2015). Restoring good water status is a key challenge for the Pays de la Loire region. The 2016-2021 plan will be replaced by another for 2022-2027. In addition, the Loire-Brittany Water Agency Territorial Contracts have been merged with the Pays de la Loire regional councils Region River Basin Agreements, consolidating momentum for action by the regional council and the common understanding of challenges between stakeholders.


The main objective of LIFE-IP REVERS'EAU is to implement the Loire Brittany River Basin Management Plan (RMBP) for the Pays de Loire region in full, in order to achieve the Water Framework Directive (WFD) target of 37% of water bodies having good ecological status by 2027.

The project is intended to create favourable conditions for the management plan, with actions aimed at catalysing stakeholders commitment and mobilising funds, both within the project and through complementary actions. LIFE-IP REVERS'EAU will reinforce the overall coherence of measures aimed at farms, programmes applying to local areas and the terms of reference for the economic and agri-food sectors. The project is also designed to spread good practices and achieve a scale change to contribute to restoring good status.

The specific objectives are to: 1. Mobilise regional stakeholders (elected representatives, the general public, local RBMP organisers, urban planners and economic stakeholders) and improve their skills, with a view to meeting the goal of restoring good ecological status for waters in the Pays de la Loire region and sharing the challenges; 2. Implement large-scale initiatives to restore the natural functions of river basins; and 3. Gain additional knowledge (on sociology, hydrology, etc.) aimed at organisations responsible for managing resource restoration initiatives, particularly relating to climate change.

LIFE-IP REVERS'EAU will help to implement a range of EU policy and legislation, including the WFD, Drinking Water Directive, Bathing Water Quality Directive, Flooding Directive, Nitrates Directive and the common agricultural policy, in an area suffering from great human-induced water pressures.

In addition to the project's own budget, it aims to facilitate the coordinated use of about 500 million in complementary funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), Loire Bretagne Water Agency and Pays de la Loire Regional Council.


Expected results: Objective 1

  • Strengthened regional governance with the evolution of the Loire Water Conference towards a voting body;
  • Better engagement of local stakeholders through network leaders;
  • Enhanced awareness of the public and students;
  • 100 elected representatives trained on water-related issues; and
  • A network of urban planners and water management planners created.
  • Objective 2

  • Improved morphology of the watercourses: by means of restoration of ecological continuity, removal or by-passing of lakes and pools, renaturation of watercourses, reopening of watercourses in the urban environment, and training and awareness raising of elected officials or residents;
  • Improved water quality through reduced pollutant transfer at the river basin scale: by means of studies, protocol definition, awareness raising and training, supporting farmers in hedge planting, supporting municipalities in the development of infrastructure, and creation of drainage and buffer zones;
  • Better controlled and improved water withdrawals: via the definition of management strategies, a regional road map, development of technical management practices at farms, and collaboration with pool owners; and
  • Pollution fought at source in catchment areas, large-scale hedge planting, and a toolkit to test the land developed by the Regional Chamber of Agriculture.


    Objective 3

  • Increased knowledge on the sources of coastal pollution and enhanced awareness among upstream operators;
  • Definition of water resources management scenarios relating to climate change;
  • A water resource management plan developed for Vilaine river;
  • Recommendations drawn up to limit hypoxia in the Loire estuary; and
  • A methodology developed to support complex watercourse restoration projects.


    Reference: LIFE19 IPE/FR/000007
    Start Date: 01/09/2020
    End Date: 31/12/2027
    Total Eligible Budget: 15,099,674 €
    EU Contribution: 7,120,584 €
    Project Location:


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Conseil Rgional des Pays de la Loire
    Legal Status: PUBLIC
    Address: France
    Contact Person: Aude ARRIGHI
    Email: Send Email

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    • River basin management
    • Improved legislative compliance and enforcement
    • Pollution control
    • Freshwater


    • water quality improvement
    • policy integration
    • river management
    • pollutant monitoring


    • Directive 2007/60 - Assessment and management of flood risks (23.10.2007)
    • Directive 2006/7 - Management of bathing water quality and repealing Directive 76/160/EEC (15.02.2006)
    • Directive 98/83 - Quality of water intended for human consumption (03.11.1998)
    • COM(2006)508 - “Communication on the development of agri-environmental indicators for monitoring the integration of environmental concerns into the common agricultural policy” (15.09.2006)
    • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)


    Name Type
    Chambre Régionale d’agriculture des Pays de la Loire-France Participant
    Communauté de communes Erdre et Gesvres-France Participant
    Syndicat Mixte de la Baie de Bourgneuf-France Participant
    EPTB Vilaine-France Participant
    Syndicat Mixte Vendée Sèvre Autizes-France Participant
    Université d’Angers-France Participant
    Conseil départemental de la Mayenne-France Participant
    Syndicat Mixte du Bassin de l’Authion et de ses Affluents-France Participant
    Conseil départemental de la Vendée-France Participant
    Syndicat de bassin de l’Oudon-France Participant
    EPTB Sèvre nantaise-France Participant
    Nantes Métropole-France Participant