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Because the Volvic catchment area is uniquely rich, Société des eaux de Volvic is strongly committed to preserving this incredible natural heritage, including the 38-km2 area where Volvic natural mineral water originates.
The Volvic impluvium is located in the unique geographical site of “Chaîne des Puys / Limagne fault”, inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage list since 2018.
Protecting and preserving the natural mineral water resource is at the heart of Volvic’s DNA. It is Volvic’s responsibility to ensure the natural renewal of this water source, anchored in the local heritage and actively maintaining the balance of biodiversity within the area.
A balance to be respected: the role of hydrogeologists
In order for the water source to continue to renew itself at the pace of its natural mineral water cycle, Volvic ensures sustainable and responsible management, led by its expert team of hydrogeologists. In the large chain of the natural mineral water cycle, hydrogeologists are a major link in ensuring that the resource is conserved quantitatively and protected qualitatively. Thus, their expertise makes it possible to not take more than what nature offers us.
1. THE ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE VOLVIC CATCHMENT AREA (CEPIV)
Co-created by Société des Eaux de Volvic in 2006, the environmental committee for the protection of the Volvic impluvium (CEPIV) is a public-private partnership with the 4 local communities of the catchment area. Its mission is to implement actions with all territory stakeholders that reconcile local development and the protection of the catchment area and its biodiversity.
The mission of cepiv focuses on three areas:
PRESERVE THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY
DEVELOP ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES
PROMOTE THE CAREFUL PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT OF VILLAGES, ROADS AND RAILWAYS
I. PRESERVE THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT AND BIODIVERSITY
Since its creation, the CEPIV has taken concrete actions to preserve these extraordinary resources by establishing partnership with local NGOs that work on preserving the rich biodiversity on the catchment area as well as the waterways.
The volvic catchment area (38km2), which is 60% forests and around 30% agricultural area, hosts unique ecosystems and is an important source of biodiversity that the cepiv aims to preserve in collaboration with the national forest office (onf) and the conservatory of natural spaces of auvergne (cena).
In 2015, in partnership with the auvergne region, Volvic has made 30 hectares of forest available for a regional protected area, the Cheires and Caves, that are part of the auvergne volcanoes regional nature park for a 10-year period. The territory of this regional nature reserve is home to 13 species of bats, and also rare species such as the forest cat, the woodpecker and the spotted salamander. Its contrasting landscapes are popular among residents, associations, as well as visitors and sportsmen from the region and beyond.
In addition, through three longstanding local partnerships, Volvic has being engaged to preserve biodiversity with specialized organizations, such as the conservatory of natural areas of auvergne (CEN auvergne), Beeodiversity and the French league for the Protection of Birds (LPO).
In 2012, Volvic partnered up with the conservatory of natural areas of Auvergne (CEN Auvergne). Since then, volvic has given an area to measure the presence of the butterfly Phengaris alcon, also known as the Alcon blue or Alcon large blue.
Additionally, on a yearly basis, Volvic organizes the “eco-chantiers” initiative, in which Volvic’s bottling site employees clean the impluvium area to protect the biodiversity, including the butterfly’s protected area to ensure a long-term health of their ecosystem.
Since 2016 in partnership with Belgian NGO Beeodiversity, Volvic is tracking the bee’s pollen in order to study the flora biodiversity. Volvic makes 48 samples per year, which allows Beeodiversity to make between 500-800 analysis per year to assess the environmental quality of the fauna and flora of the area. In total, Volvic has installed 12 hives in 6 areas of the catchment area, which has become the settlement of 600,000 bees.
In partnership with the French league for the protection of birds (French LPO), volvic supports a program to protect the threatened red kite bird species, by the installation of a feeding station, which is supplied with meat by a Volvic employee to regularly feed red kites. Volvic was awarded by the ministry of the environment with a patronage award for its involvement in the protection of this species.
II. DEVELOP ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY AGRICULTURAL PRACTICES
The development of environmentally friendly agricultural practices is key to ensure the environmental quality of the catchment area and its surroundings.
A) ORGANIC AGRICULTURE CONVERSION - technical and financial assistance to farmers in the source area to convert to organic farming practices.
In 2017 the CEPIV put in place a new project providing financial and technical support to farmers located on the catchment area to support them in their transition towards organic agricultural practices. Today, two farms have successfully been certified as organic, which represents 10% of agricultural activities within the catchment area being managed with environmental responsible practices.
The CEPIV also supports the financial transformation of agricultural waste into compost, to be used within the catchment area. At the same time, this practice allows Volvic to protect watercourses crossing the impluvium, thereby preventing and enhancing the protection of the quality of the watercourse and cattle watering.
B) SURFACE WATER PROTECTION - Protection of surface water before becoming groundwater
Volvic has partnered up with local farmers to co-design solutions to avoid river pollution due to cows’ activities. Through the construction of 50 waterers and 5-km of fence, 7-km streams have been protected.
C) CONTROL OF TERRESTRIAL PESTS (VETAGRO PARTNERSHIP)
Since 2015, in cooperation with VetAgro Sup (higher education and research institution which trains veterinarians but also agricultural engineers and veterinary public health inspectors), Volvic supports the sustainable fight against rodents through the suppression of chemicals to eliminate pests. Volvic has financially supported the VetAgro Sup agronomists’ PhD thesis and the creation of a micro company for trapping.
III. PROMOTE THE CAREFUL PLANNING AND MANAGEMENT OF VILLAGES, ROADS AND RAILWAYS
Although only 10% of the catchment area is built up, the CEPIV works with the residents and communities to continually optimize infrastructures to protect the environment. Indeed, these actions have focused on sanitation, traffic and energy networks across the whole area.
Conclusion of a contract between the source operator and the French railways (SNCF) between 2012 and 2018 the CEPIV worked with France's national state-owned railway company SNCF to mechanically maintain the railway tracks in the area of the source, without the use of chemicals. In order to accomplish this objective, the CEPIV financed the alternative environmental responsible practice of cutting the grass. Since 2018, SNCF has undertaken the maintenance of these practices.
No herbicide uses in communities in the maintenance of parks and green areas. In 2017, all the CEPIV municipalities committed to the “0 pesticides in villages” program. Volvic is financially supporting this process to achieve the objective of zero pesticide use. The city of Volvic will be the 1st municipality to reach the goal in 2020 across the municipalities.
Managing risks from domestic waste water (in networks and treatment plants). Through an investment plan funded by CEPIV to develop and improve the networks and plants, it has been possible to:
- Build a network and treatment plants for 7 communities which had no sewage network
- Comprehensive assessment and full renovation of network for the central 400 inhabitants’ hamlets
Implementation and financing of road improvements to limit the risk of accidents.
OIL TANKS AND HEATING
Financial support for the inhabitants of the impluvium in the removal of oil heating systems or in securing oil tanks.
2. CHAINE DES PUYS – LIMAGNE FAULT FOUNDATION
Volvic is one of the co-founders of the Chaîne des Puys – Limagne fault foundation, which was set up in 2015 to support projects which target the preservation and enhancement on the landscape, providing support for traditional activities, and developing research and the dissemination of knowledge. Since its creation the foundation has contributed to five key projects:
The mission of CEPIV focuses on three areas:
ENHANCEMENT WORK ON THE PUY DE VICHATEL
CREATION OF A MOBILE FLOCK OF SHEEP UNDER A SHEPHERD
BUILDING A SHEPHERD’S HUT AT THE FOOT OF THE PUY DE DÔME
SETTING UP AN OBSERVATORY TO MONITOR VISITOR NUMBERS, WHICH HAS RECEIVED A RECOGNITION IN 2019.
IMPROVEMENTS TO THE INTERIOR OF THE SHEPHERD’S HUT
In addition, there have been supported other three projects:
IMPROVEMENTS TO SUMMER GRAZING PRACTICE AT RECOLEINE AND THE PASTURE LAND, BY SUPPORTING THE SUMMER GRAZING ASSOCIATION.
CLEARANCE OF VEGETATION TO REOPEN GRAZING LAND, BY SUPPORTING THE CEYSSAT LANDOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION.
ENHANCEMENT OF THE WOODLAND AND LANDSCAPE OF THE PUY DE CHAUMONT, BY SUPPORTING THE JOINT ASSOCIATION FOR FORESTRY MANAGEMENT OF THE VOLVIC SOURCES AND VOLCANOES.