The Joint Research Unit "Water Management, Actors, Territories" (UMR G-EAU) brings together 90 permanent researchers and engineers and around 50 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers from different disciplines who work together on integrated and adaptive water management issues. The unit conducts research on socio-hydrosystems and their regulation, it designs and evaluates tools to facilitate implementation of innovative public policies on water, and is involved in a multidisciplinary training course concerning the water sector. The UMR G-EAU is a member of the Montpellier Water and Environment Institute (IM2E).
The core of the UMR G-EAU project is understanding of the functioning of socio-hydrosystems both under normal conditions and in times of crisis (water shortages, flooding, pollution). We analyze the hydrological, technical, social, economic and political processes within a territory defined by its hydrosystem and the consequences of such processes. Our interdisciplinary team is perfectly qualified to analyze and understand the combined effects of these processes, and to identify options for governance and adaptation in a complex and uncertain environment. In close interaction with civil society, the team designs and tests tools and devices to reveal how the systems function and to enable the necessary interventions.
From its origins in research on irrigated systems, the UMR G-EAU has gradually moved to integrated management. Currently it deals with territories and their links to water by considering them as complex systems from different points of view:
- Different uses and interests: irrigation, drinking water, leisure activities, energy, water treatment, flood protection;
- Different types of water: surface water, groundwater, wastewater,
- Different processes: the transfer of water and pollutants, irrigation technologies, economic instruments, public participation, ownership patterns,
- Different modes of regulation: river and canal infrastructure, water access and land use policies, standards linked with water uses,
- Different disciplines.
The UMR G-EAU research is rooted in case studies. This requires investing in research based on field observations completed by experiments conducted in collaboration with users and/or managers. To build on the resulting knowledge, the UMR G-EAU is part of a wide network of partners and research centers around the world, in France and in the South, with a variety of issues related to water and to hydro-ecological socio-economic and political contexts. A third of the UMR G-EAU staff are located in North, West and southern Africa and in South-East Asia. In France, collaboration agreements bring the research unit into close contact with the institutions in charge of watershed management. Involvement on the ground leads to close interactions with stakeholders.
Finally, the UMR G-EAU research unit is involved in the diffusion of its results. To this end, it exploits three different channels:
- Testing techniques and instruments in collaboration with local institutions,
- Offering students from northern countries the opportunity to take the "Water Masters" in Montpellier in the engineering schools that host the joint research unit (Montpellier SupAgro and AgroParisTech) and in southern countries as part of the Masters offered by the partners who host us,
- Through partnerships with companies, particularly young start-ups.