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Glossary   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

River Basin

(see River Basin District)

An area which supplies a waterway or lake. A river basin is defined as a water collection area, upstream from an outlet: the area is delimited by contours within which all the water flows on the surface or underground towards this outlet. It is delimited by a watershed, which is the boundary between that basin and adjacent basins.

River Basin District or Hydrological Basin

Synonyms for river basin. This term is sometimes used to describe a “basin or group of basins”. France is divided into six geographical areas called “river basins” or “river basin districts”. The six basins are: Rhone Mediterranean Corsica, Loire Brittany, Seine Normandy, Adour Garonne and Artois Picardy.

Each basin corresponds to the five main French rivers (The Rhone, Rhine, Loire, Seine and Garonne), plus the River Somme.

A basin is an area of land irrigated by the same hydrographic network: a river, with all its tributaries and all the waterways that supply them. This land collects rainfall and contributes to the river’s discharge. The water acquires its chemical composition from the land and reflects the natural processes and human activities which take place there. Within the same basin, due to the relief, all the waters follow a common natural slope to the same sea.

A river basin district has a coherent ecological system made up of different elements: water, land, and plant and animal mineral resources. It was therefore logical to organise French water management policy around this natural framework: since 1964, river basin districts have been the cornerstones of French water policy. Each basin has two bodies, a Basin Committee and a Water Agency (see Basin Committees and Water Agencies). These bodies are responsible for managing and protecting water resources in their basins.

Relative Depth

(See Time Series of Piezometric Levels)