A group conformed of members of MedCities, the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB), the Gabès City Council, the water department of the Gabès’ Regional Commission for the Development of Agriculture (CRDA), and a specialist in waters conservation and soils of the higher institute of water sciences and techniques of Gabès (ISSTEG) had the opportunity to participate in the Tools, Methods and Knowledge Exchange Scientific Seminar co-organized with the DEEP lab of the national institute of applied sciences of Lyon (INSA Lyon) and the Observatoire de Terrain en Hydrologies Urbaine (OTHU) on May 16 and 17 in Lyon.

Indeed, this seminar was part of the training activities on improving rainwater management in the city of Gabès through the European project ValEUr Gabès, which enabled all participants to learn in situ the strategy and measures on rainwater management implemented by the metropolis of Lyon in collaboration with the city’s research centers.

On the first day, the retinue could visit two key pilot sites. During the morning, the group saw the functioning of Chassieu-Django Reinhardt’s rainwater infiltration infrastructure, which feeds the principal aquifer that supplies water to the entire metropolitan area of ​​Lyon. Secondly, the participants could see the ECO-CAMPUS, an “open-air laboratory” of direct rainwater infrastructure collection that enables water management disconnected from the drainage network and promote biodiversity. During the evening, members of the direction boards of INSA, OTHU, GRAIE and INRAE introduced their work on quantifying and assessing Lyonese rainwater management institutions. It was a rich meeting to share with them, as they are urban water management pioneering scientific institutions in France. 

On the second day, all speakers shared the different non-conventional water management models chosen for each context and made meaningful comparations to understand the transferability of some of the selected practices. In particular, Mohamed Cherif Tahar, technical staff at the Municipality of Gabès, presented the progress made in their city thanks to the project ValEUr. Next, Txomin Martino, AMB Valeur Gabès project manager, showed the water cycle management in the Metropolitan area of Barcelona. In the same line, Hervé Caltran and Muriel Foriat from the water direction of Lyon metropolis presented its 2030 400Ha water-de-proofing plan, which will allow a more sustainable management of rainwater at its source and a better recharge of Lyon’s aquifers.

The mission ended with a presentation by the expert Gislain Lipeme on the monitoring and follow-up tools developed by the DEEP lab of INSA Lyon and a global evaluation of the task. All participants were satisfied with the mission’s content, and some exciting topics were identified as possible solutions for the Gabès context.

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