At the heart of Evian’s work are the sustainable management of water resources and the protection of its qualities – a heritage which is passed on from generation to generation. In 2014 an innovative project, developed jointly with all local stakeholders, was launched; it combines water purity protection and renewable energy production.
Evian has worked alongside farmers and local authorities to protect the resource against the impacts of agriculture and other human activities for over twenty years. All of these parties joined together in 1992 to create the APIEME (the Association for the Protection of the Impluvium of evian water).
In this context, the APIEME is launching a joint project at the heart of sustainable development issues. This project was named Terragr'Eau Méthanisation and is based on the installation of a Methanisation plant in the catchment area's territory (Gavot Plateau).
The construction of this Methanisation plant dedicated to converting animal waste collected from dairy farms in the catchment area will begin in the first quarter of 2015 and should be operational by the end of the same year. The success of this project is ensured locally by the support of 41 farmers on the Gavot plateau who occupy 63% of the catchment area surface. Agricultural waste will be collected from the farmers and taken to the Methanisation plant for processing. 36,000 tonnes of livestock manure are expected to be processed.
1,700,000 m3 or 9,200 MWh of biogas (mostly methane) is expected to be extracted per year and will be injected directly into the catchment area's natural gas network.
The Methanisation plant should reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 2,000 tonnes of CO₂ per year representing a total reduction of 10% of emissions from agricultural activity in the county of Evian.
This process will also produce a natural fertiliser which will be used on the area's meadows and crops. Fertiliser used on agricultural parcels will be spread collectively rather than individually with the amount of fertiliser used being adapted to the actual needs of crops, removing the risk of polluting the environment through overuse of chemical fertiliser.
Cathy Le Hec, head of the Association for the Protection of the Impluvium of evian water and the person behind the initiative, explained that installing a Methanisation plant has a dual advantage: "This project drives local development of green energy and is a powerful tool for communicating with residents in the area. It also preserves the quality of the natural environment and all water resources in the catchment area, including evian water and drinking water used by 15,000 people.”
This latest project fully reflects the APIEME's mission to identify and finance facilities and practices needed to ensure the harmonious development of the catchment area and leave future generations an environment and water with the same level of quality as they currently have. The 13 towns in which Evian water infiltrates and emerges are participating in this project.
Three types of action have been implemented with local partners:
- Supporting farmers in implementing innovative and environmentally-friendly practices.
- Territorial development that is consistent with water protection issues.
- Protecting natural areas in the catchment area, particularly wetlands included in the List of Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance
On the ground, the work of the APIEME is shown by various projects, such as:
- Upgrading farm buildings and a dairy cooperative
- Extending the sewer network and creating a wastewater treatment plant
- Supporting towns to control road salting in winter
- Educating residents on gardening without pesticides
- Diagnosis of the biodiversity of different types of natural habitats (grasslands, forests, wetlands)
All these initiatives illustrate the involvement of all public and private local stakeholders as they work towards a common goal of preserving the purity of Evian's natural water and natural resources for future generations.