In France, the Water Management Associations are


        -         the “wateringues” in the northern part of the country, 
        -         and the “Association Syndicales Autorisées (ASA)”


These water boards are local public authorities grouping landowners of the concerned territory, with a self-supporting financial system. Each of them has its own tasks according to its regulation act.


Among 7000 ASA exist all around the country, 4000 are water boards (the others deal with other activities, such as road and infrastructure building in forests and in pastures) : 

  • more than 1200 ASA have to deal with excess water (wateringues, marshland area, 
    drainage network etc..);
  • 200 ASA are responsible for river bank maintenance;
  • 50 ASA construct and maintain erosion and flood control works in vineyard areas;
  • more than 2000 ASA deal with irrigation, half of them by of gravitation canals, the other half by pumping stations and a network of pipes and tubes.
  • And ASA 140 operate a drinking water network.


The regulations on these water boards are laid down in the Ordonnance of 1st July 2004 and Decree of 3rd May 2006 which have replaced the 1865 law and its application decree. With regard to water management, water boards have to act according to the Environmental code that was actualized for water management late 2006.


They map below shows the main area where each type of water boards in France can be found. Click on the map to enlarge the image.



1- Wateringues and Institution Interdépartementale des wateringues de Nord Pas-de-Calais


Wateringues originate from the embankment of wetland and coastal areas which began during the 12th century.


Wateringues are located in northern part of France. The wateringues sections work in close relation with The «Institution Interdépartementale des wateringues de Nord Pas-de-Calais».

This Institution was founded as an answer to the severe floods which occurred in the area in 1974. The general councils ‘Nord’ and ‘Pas-de-Calais’ joined forces with the agricultural and navigation departments in the Institution Intedepartementale des wateringues de Nord Pas-de-Calais. Generally speaking, the two general councils fund the Institution Interdépartementale des wateringues de Nord Pas-de-Calais.




2- ASA in the western part of France

On the western coast of France, hundreds of ASA were created from 17th century until now. Several of them are in charge of water and infrastructures management in “marais poitevin”. A partner of these ASA is the “Forum des Marais Atlantiques” which operates as a forum for exchange of knowledge and experience on wetland management; organizing meetings on technical, judicial and management issues. 




3- The ASA in Southern France dealing with irrigation


These ASA are located in the southern part of France. They are really diversified with some of them grouping only few land owners to the biggest that grouped several thousand of landowners. They are mainly gravitation canal irrigations systems around the Mediterranean see. Some of them modernise part of their network by pumping stations and pipes distributions systems. In Garonne and Rhone watershed ae extended pressure irrigation network was created since 1970.


Together with other kinds of ASA (river management, marshland, urban infrastructure management) these ASA are currently creating a National Association of Associations Syndicales de Propriétaires (ANASP) which should become in a near future the national representation of water boards and other ASA.


ASAinfo, which coordinates a National knowledge network facilitating exchanges of experiences among ASAs, is a close partner.