Its territory..


The county covers a 6,200-square-kilometers area with a maximum altitude of 1,200 meters on the south slope of the calcareous, crystalline Massif Central. It is then constituted of an area of piedmont plains cut by valleys ending in a coastal plain that gives on the Mediterranean sea. The hydro graphic network is composed of parallel rivers running north to south (1,500 km of river in all) that flow into the Mediterranean Sea. There are 10 drainage basins in the network. Brackish coastal lagoons with a total surface area of 15,000 hectares line the 90-kilometers sea coast.


A wide range of aquatic environments are represented and characterized by different issues and in some cases specific vulnerabilities especially in summer ; a dry season with a large influx of tourists.





Its internal organization..




Conseil général de l'Herault (France)

A total of 5 445 employees are involved toward the whole population of 1 019 798 inhabitants living in 343 towns or villages throughout the territory.


The general council assembly counts 49 representatives and chaired by a president, Mr André Vezinhet and 14 vice-presidents.


The budget of 1.285 billion euros devoted to the implementation of 6 main policies in the following fields :
Social care
Educational program and youth
Sport and culture


Its technical assistance and financial aid for local authorities investments :


- to develop and to protect water resources

Herault water treatment 1


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Herault water treatment 2



Exploring for water
Knowledge about the County's groundwater resources is constantly improving, with an average of 8-10 studies conducted annually for the local authorities. Due to the geographical complexity of the territory (basement domains, karst…) water research remains difficult.


Protection of drinking water withdrawal points
Support for local authorities to reach the requirements of National Health and Environment Plan, with an objective of 100% of authorised withdrawal in 2010.


- To build drinking water supply and wastewater treatment facilities for the local collectivities ; to develop raw water equipments to supply agricultural and other uses.
master plans, studies, diagnostics and network improvement
protection of drinking water supply (quantity and quality)
drinking water production, transfer and treatment plants
waste water collection and treatment facilities
raw water delivery facilities (for agricultural and other uses)
flood protection facilities


- To improve technical and financial partnerships
with the Rhône Méditerranée and Corse Water Agency
under aquifer and environmental contracts


Its integrated water management by drainage basin


Herault lake 1


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Herault lake 2



To respond to local needs and issues, and comply with the successive water laws, water management has been organized on a drainage basis. Programmes and management structures have been established for each drainage basin.


Its production and dissemination of knowledge about water :




Herault enviromental observatory


- Herault County's measuring networks : piezometric network, comprises approximately 25 points for measuring levels, including 11 points at which temperature and conductivity are also monitored. Groundwater quality monitoring network consitued by 39 monitoring points, including 18 for pesticides in areas under strong agricultural pressure. Through the County's network, certain resources affected by natural (arsenic, iron) an human (nitrates, pesticides) contaminations are monitored four times a year.


- The unifying Water and Environment Data Network : a tool favouring sharing and dissemination of data on water and aquatic environments in the Hérault County.


- The water and environment geographic information system : management of cartographic data associated with water and environment, production of geographic and thematic maps, representation of the unifying network's results.


Its flood risk management


Herault flood 1


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Herault flood 2



With internal objectives :
Prevent and manage the risk of flooding for 4800 km of County's roads, 79 junior school and more than 300 administrative buildings..
Optimise crisis management
Provide assistance after natural disasters
Management of two large dams


Lake of Salagou (Hérault). Photo: Xavier Boutolleau


With external objectives :
A strategy based on participation at territorial development planning, driving integrated water policy, development of knowledge and education about the risk,..



Herault channel


Its water and sustainable development


Herault well


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Herault wine


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Fig. 43: Herault mountains


Risk of water shortages in Hérault county.


For sustainable water management, the General council of Hérault responds
By seeking new resources
By favouring saving water
And complying with the Water Framework Directive in order to respond to the environmental needs.


Partnership with research and development planning organisations.


New governance methods.



This project is cofinanced by the ERDF and made possible by the INTERREG IVC programme


The Interregional Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVC, financed by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund, helps Regions of Europe work together to share experience and good practice in the areas of innovation, the knowledge economy, the environment and risk prevention. EUR 302 million is available for project funding but, more than that, a wealth of knowledge and potential solutions are also on hand for regional policy-makers.