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Protecting and preserving natural mineral water resources are the focal point of a mineral water specialist's job.

Managing a natural mineral water spring means respecting an entire balance. Danone ensures the sensible management of the Volvic spring, so that it continues to replenish itself at the same rate as the natural water cycle, under the control of hydro-geologists. The amount of natural mineral water that is drawn from the spring respects both the natural replenishment of the resource, year after year, and the regulatory provisions.

A balance that needs to be respected: the role of hydro-geologists

The Volvic natural mineral water spring is managed in a sustainable manner, so that future generations can continue to benefit from it. Danone ensures the sensible management under the control of hydro-geologists. Hydro-geologists are a key link in thewater cycle, since they take care of preserving water resources from a quantitative standpoint, and of protecting them from a qualitative standpoint. Accordingly, the instructions enable us not to draw more than what nature provides us with.

The hydro-geologists use several methods in order to determine the quantity of water that can be drawn every year:

  • first, they rely on detailed knowledge of the geological structure and of the hydro-geological operation of the spring and of its aquifer (the natural underground reservoir in which the water flows);
  • they drill test holes, which enable them to ascertain the stability of the aquifer replenishment process;
  • the SPRING evaluation method, which was developed by Danone in 2009, enables an optimal standard for the management of the resource to be determined. This matrix of quantitative and qualitative criteria also includes assessing the strategy for involving the local operators. An improvement plan, which aims to respect the resource from a quantitative and qualitative standpoint, is determined every year. It also enables all of the initiatives implemented, and their effectiveness to be monitored, in order to position ourselves at the determined standard. The tool demonstrates the ongoing improvement approach aimed at ensuring the sustainability of Volvic water while protecting the environment.

Expertise that is recognised at the European level

Over the years, Volvic has acquired expertise in managing and protecting water resources in forested areas. We have chosen to share that expertise at the European level via the SEMEAU Project.
This initiative, which was implemented as part of the European Union LIFE+ Environment Programme between 2009 and 2013, resulted in designing a tool for modelling the water cycle on the pilot Volvic catchment area site, and in drafting a reference work on this subject. The project revealed the extremely close link between the forest and the water resources in terms of both quantity and quality.
Farming and forestry management scenarios were drawn up on the basis of this information, working with the managers of 2,000 hectares of forests growing in the spring's catchment area.
The work performed by Volvic and its partners has benefited all the operators involved in the low-mountain water sector in Europe. In fact, it has enabled the drawing up of very long-term regional management strategies, which combine protecting water resources and local economic development.
To find out more about the project, go to http://www.life-semeau.eu/limpluvium-volvic

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