In 2011 the Communauté de Communes (association of local councils) is going to start an extensive programme of works on the Claise and its tributaries. This is in order to fulfill their obligations under the EU directive to ensure all surface water is in a good state by 2015. Within this framework, around 15 public meetings have been organised to inform all the resident owners and users of the river of their rights and obligations, as well as tell them about the type of work envisaged.
Between 2005 and 2008, the Communauté undertook a study of all the water courses in the Claise river basin. Several problems were revealed: water flow is too uniform; bankside vegetation is poorly maintained; over-representation of certain species (eg. poplars); presence of invasive species (eg the non-native aquatic plant Ludwigia, known as jussie in France); build up of silt and fine gravel. If nothing is done, these imbalances will only get worse.
The plan is to return a more suitable vegetation to the banks and ensure the nuisance species are suppressed. Mechanisms will be installed in the river bed to enliven the flow, thereby gaining fresher, better oxygenated water and reducing sediments. All these techniques will contribute to diversify and improve the habitat for species that populate the water courses, such as fish and invertebrates. In addition, the Communauté intends to co-ordinate with the licenced trappers in their fight against the coypu, a particularly unwelcome 'guest'.
It is estimated that the programme will cost 1.68 million euros over a period of 5 years. Funding of 1.347 million will come from the Loire-Brittany Water Agency, the Region (Centre) and the General Council of Indre-et-Loire. The Communauté itself will also contribute.
In principle, each landowner must maintain their own bit of the river. With this programme the Communauté de Communes de la Touraine du Sud will act on their behalf in order to be able to respond more quickly to the EU directive. Nevertheless, this programme of works should be seen by everyone as the time to relearn best practice, and at the end of it we can enjoy the improvement of the water resource in our district.
Source: Zoom sur de belles rivières dans le sud; Panorama de la Touraine du Sud; 2e semestre/No11.