In terms of climate change, the hydrogeological situation of the territory does not seem reassuring. In its report of 13 April 2023 on the state of the water tables in France, the BRGM (Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières) announces that 75% of the water tables have a level below the monthly normal. This deficit follows several consecutive weeks without effective rain and the lack of precipitation in March was not enough to make up for.
This situation is obviously reminiscent of the drought of the summer of 2022, which remains one of the most severe that has affected France for at least fifty years. In 2022, the water table levels assessment gave a less alarming signal in early spring. But as early as March, the indicators had a percentage below 58% of the annual averages.
These new parameters put into perspective the potential risks for 2023 if the weather was to be as bad as last year.
The first weather forecasts for April, May and June 2023, in France, do not favour any scenario for temperature as for precipitation, so the situation remains uncertain for the moment.
The country has been experiencing droughts every year since 2018 (with the exception of 2021), and climate forecasts suggest that such extreme events could be much more frequent by the end of the century.
Faced with this growing risk, the vulnerability of our water management systems is worrisome. Indeed, an interdepartmental report published on April 12, 2023, which offers feedback on water management during the 2022 drought, notes the fragility of the municipalities, some of which have had to put in place exceptional measures to meet the needs of their inhabitants, but also of the agricultural and energy production sectors, which have suffered substantial losses in yields.
It is therefore imperative to adapt as quickly as possible to develop lasting resilience to these dangers. The BRGM report proposes 18 recommendations to improve water management, one of the most significant being the one calling for sobriety plans. Indeed, the report stresses that without a global effort to reduce water consumption over time, it will not be possible to meet the needs of all sectors without endangering the whole water cycle.
It is precisely to address this aspect of the major challenge of water resource management that EGM has developed Econom’O, an automatic irrigation control system. The solution integrates the installation of several types of connected sensors, which makes it possible to accurately monitor in real time the total water consumption by sectors, but also the soil condition of the plots. The flagship of this installation unveils a high-performance soil moisture sensor. Coupled with local weather forecasts, this ingenious system makes it possible to forecast the quantities of water to be irrigated in the coming days.
These predicted optimal amounts of irrigated water are then automatically applied through a control valve that limits the default water supply. Econom’O thus allows to have a global vision of water consumption and to manage ideally the irrigation of the plots, saving all the water that is possible without harming the soil and plants, and this, in an automated way requiring a minimum of monitoring.
The solution has been tested and proven functional within the city of Menton, in southern France, and is adaptable to any municipality wishing to reduce the impact related to its water consumption, as well as the significant resulting costs. For the city of Menton, it represents a saving of €80,000 per year.