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The SDAGE of the Reunion island 2000

Published 2008

In so far as water is concerned, the Reunion Island’s situation is very contrasted:

-  it holds several world records with regard to rainfall although, in some places, it rains only a few days a year ;

-  theoretically wise, resources are about six times more abundant than the demand but communities frequently have to interrupt the water supply because of water shortage.

These paradoxes can be explained by several factors. The mountains form a natural barrier that stops rainfall from the east and dries up the west which, having a milder climate, attracts an ever-increasing population. Consequently, a major part of the water demand is concentrated in the driest areas which, in the short term, will be subjected to chronic water shortages. Development of the Island will thus depend on integrated water resource management.

In view of these stakes, measures were deemed necessary to alleviate the situation: a Master Plan for Water Development and Management (SDAGE) was the first step.

The General Council, main body in charge of The Reunion’s water management, requested IOWater to evaluate the draft Master Plan, in order to have updated data available to enhance its contribution to the issue of water management on the Island.

To begin with, it was essential to study (not to re-write) the contents of the document : after three years and fifty working sessions to draw up the document, the community would appreciate a new, external vision and analyses of the guidelines and recommendations.

In addition, the Reunion Department expected clarifications on the foreseeable SDAGE impact on its policies and role, in so far as the issue of financing its water policy on the Island was the main part of the document.

Considering the special nature of the SDAGE, the final phase dealt with legal aspects. This analysis was based more particularly on the regulations in force and the statute law, in order to define as clearly as possible the possible opposition outlines.