Research Program of c-EAU


Contribute to a better interrelation with water resources by training experts, advancing knowledge and improving practices.


That best practices are applied to all aspects of water governance.

Research programming

Continental water is an object of transdisciplinary research. To reflect this reality, c-EAU is focusing on five interrelated, non-exclusive research objects.


The pressure on water resources is such that there is an urgent need to improve its governance. The challenge is considerable in the face of political, demographic, socio-economic and physico-chemical realities which vary greatly in time and space. A distinction is thus made between multilevel governance, which structures the hierarchy of stakeholders within a State, and multilateral governance, which responds to the fact that watersheds know no borders. The concepts of accountability, equity, consultation, integration and hydrosolidarity are central to this research area.

Observation and modeling

Water circulates tirelessly on Earth using a variety of routes, which constitutes a great scientific challenge. Observation, analysis and modeling form the preferred means towards a better understanding of the physical processes that dictate the physico-chemical properties of flows. The resulting diagnostic modeling sheds light on the functioning of these processes. Observation, analysis and modeling are also called upon to study the socio-economic aspects of our interrelations with water.

Protection and management

Societies derive immense benefits from their use of water. The sustainability of these activities requires the protection of resources through a targeted normative framework and the use of appropriate management practices. This includes the use of various treatments to ensure the health of consumers as well as the health of ecosystems. Rational exploitation ensures that enough water is available to maintain local and global biogeochemical functioning.


The interrelation with water resources involves the design of a range of infrastructures: dams, aqueducts, sewers, treatment plants, irrigation systems... The optimal use of these infrastructures is based on the design of integrative management plans and various decision-making tools which make it possible to reconcile an often long list of operating rules. The high construction and maintenance costs of these infrastructures imply amortization over decades. These decisions therefore have long-term implications.


Local water resources have always been subject to climate fluctuations. The wet and dry periods succeed one another, which encourages the establishment of specialized infrastructures. The current climate change accentuates this unpredictability, which adds to the pressures of societies ever more greedy in water, since the Earth shelters seven times more humans now than barely two hundred years ago. To adapt to these new situations, and above all to avoid maladaptation, we must work to quantify and then reduce risks and vulnerabilities.