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Conference Papers Year : 2005

Towards a new leader of local water policy in France?

Vers un chef de file pour la gestion locale de l'eau en France ?

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The administrative organisation of water management in France is very complex: the lack of territorial coherence in public interventions is obvious. There is no satisfactory regulation in this field. The law (about local responsibilities, not only focalised on water policy) of March 1995 introduced the concept of chef de file (leader) in order to clarify both the role and responsibilities of each actor and his fields of intervention. On the one hand the concept of chef de file is an alternative to the tangle of competencies between actors, which harms the effectiveness of water policy. On the other hand the concept of chef de file deals with the need for a referee in charge of animation, coordination and decision-making if necessary. The concept of chef de file seems appropriate for tackling the problems of competent distribution and unravelling the tangles of the actors frequently observed in the field of water management. However, the legislator has hardly recognised this concept. The actors concerned do not agree on the significance and even the relevance of this concept. Some of them fear that its implementation will be in conflict with the principle of free administration of the communities (libre administration des collectivités). And even when they consider that it is relevant, they agree neither on the attributions related to this role nor on the best actor for the job. Our purpose is to describe the actors' relationships by this exploratory study. We have based our thoughts on interviews of various actors involved in water management and on the analysis of the legal debate in the area of sharing competencies. We have been interested by the question of the legitimacy of actors to become chef de file. We could identify four types of "chef de file by crossing the two following dimensions : the degree of specialisation of the actor (transversal practitioner vs. specialist) and the entrance point in water policy/ the base of legitimacy (installations equipment vs. sustainable management of resources). In conclusion we will point out advantages and drawbacks of each identified type of chef de file. Firstly we will introduce the context of French water management as well as the legal framework of the concept of "chef de file". Then we will present a rapid synthesis of the opinions of various actors in connection with this concept. To conclude, we will point out the interests and limits of this type of strategy.
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hal-02588405 , version 1 (15-05-2020)



A. Grandgirard. Towards a new leader of local water policy in France?. 6th International Conference of EWRA "Sharing a common vision for our Water Resources", Menton, 07-10 septembre 2006, 2005, pp.17. ⟨hal-02588405⟩
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