We are pleased to inform you of the launch of the OneWater / Water for All Programme

To view the press release

Nous sommes ravis de vous informer du lancement du premier appel à projet OneWater - Eau Bien Commun. Il est ouvert à l’ensemble des chercheurs issus d’établissements français d’enseignement supérieur et/ou de recherche souhaitant proposer des contributions pour répondre aux objectifs du PEPR exploratoire OneWater.

Portant sur les 6 Défis et Inter-Défis du programme, cet appel, mis en ligne le jeudi 5 mai par l'ANR, se déroulera selon deux phases :

  1. Une première phase avec lettre d’intention (à déposer d’ici le 28 juin 2022) qui vise à pré-sélectionner des consortia, par défi ou inter-défis.
  2. Une seconde phase pour dépôt desprojets détaillés pour leur évaluation par un comité international (à déposer d’ici 13 décembre 2022) pour les consortia retenus en phase 1.

Pour accéder aux attendus, modalités et documents de soumission de ce premier appel à projet


An environmental, social and political context favourable to OneWater

With global change, natural and anthropogenic pressures on water resources are exacerbated and become a major challenge for our societies in the 21st century: it is urgent to act now and at all levels.
Water is a common good essential to life and socio-economic development. It is a resource, a living environment, a vital element for climate regulation, ecosystem functioning and human development. France was a pioneer in the world in setting up river basin governance, but the assumption that everything could be resolved at the basin level is being eroded. The global is catching up with the local and new issues are emerging. These challenges must be addressed by more integrated, systemic, multi-actor approaches to co-construct solutions adapted to contrasting realities. Over a period of 10 years, this programme aims to change the paradigm by placing water as a common good, a central element of socio-ecosystems subject to climatic and anthropic forcing.

OneWater: six major scientific and technical challenges to support the transition

  • Challenge 1 - Anticipate changes in water resources to enable territories to adapt to their particularities Improve knowledge of past and future variability of water resources based on hydroclimatic observations and modelling. To understand and model natural and anthropogenic feedbacks on the water cycle. Reanalyse hydroclimatic trajectories since the 20th century by integrating uses and pressures. Develop seasonal to decadal forecasts and evaluate adaptation scenarios based on the solutions proposed in challenge 4.
  • Challenge 2 - Develop a "water footprint" of environmental processes and human activities, considering not only water transfers but also its quality. Apply the water footprint concept to biogeochemical elements in a universal way, to differentiate the combined effects of natural and anthropogenic processes related to water quality and quantity. To conceptualise the water footprint as a determining pressure on water quality and quantity. To quantify the evolution and transformation of this footprint. To generate appropriate and deployable measures. Analyse changes in the impact of responses.
  • Challenge 3 - Use water as a sentinel for the health of the environment and human societies along the land-sea continuum. To promote a transition from a repressive approach, linked to regulatory thresholds, to a co-construction of objectives based on trend analyses, to better understand the functioning and trajectories of socio-hydrosystems. To quantify the response times of hydrosystems to climatic and anthropogenic constraints. To determine the responses of spatio-temporal variability to changes in scale. Distinguish the cumulative effects of impacts on the ecological functioning and biodiversity of hydrosystems.
  • Challenge 4 - Propose solutions to promote the adaptability and resilience of socio-hydrosystems in the face of global change, and encourage more reasoned and integrated approaches and uses. Promote trade-offs between human needs and resources, in quantity and quality, to ensure the adaptability and resilience of socio-hydrosystems. To identify the key conditions for adaptability and resilience. To characterise the barriers and levers for promoting sparing and optimal use of the resource, including the circular economy. Identify viable, equitable and sustainable solutions.
  • Cross-cutting challenge 5 - Support the socio-ecological transition towards a new governance of resources for a sustainable and resilient society. To develop a renewed management of water resources and their uses by reexamining established models and systems in order to make them evolve. To co-produce innovative governance models considering water as a common good. To develop original tools and approaches for a socio-ecological transition including the different uses and protection systems of water resources. Rely on the science of sustainability for a real paradigm shift.

  • Cross-cutting challenge 6 - Share, make accessible and understandable by all water data for knowledge and action. To support strategies and decision making with knowledge through the organisation and sharing of data from different sources. To build on existing knowledge, re-interrogate it and promote new knowledge where appropriate. To support the appropriation of data and services by the different actors (from scientists to managers...). Make data easy to find, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR). Offer a single platform dedicated to "water" data.


Impacts of OneWater

This transforming programme will have direct and significant impacts on the development of societies and territories:

  • Socio-economic: supporting stakeholders in transforming their practices with innovative solutions, deployment of the circular economy.
  • Environmental: adaptation solutions, preserving biodiversity and aquatic ecosystems, and warning of pollution and risks to resources.
  • Health and social: improving the quality of life and health of populations, access to quality water and sanitation.
  • Socio-cultural: evolution of practices through the integration of water values, development of integrated tools for data management and treatment for a holistic approach, priority of sectoral policies in the short, medium and long term.
  • Scientific: international recognition, support to socio-economic sectors and European actions, emergence of a virtual water platform.


Implementation methods

OneWater proposes a national strategy (Metropolitan France, overseas territories) adapted to the needs of living organisms and water users, associating the water sector and territorial actors, in order to consolidate French world leadership. It enables the funding of innovative and structuring research to strengthen interdisciplinary and multi-actor dialogues, thanks to various tools:

  • Calls for projects open to the entire French scientific community, to stimulate new approaches and transdisciplinary collaborations and to lift the barriers linked to the challenges and their interactions:
  1. Calls for projects by challenge and inter-challenge.
  2. Specific inter-challenge calls to support transitions: "Wall-free Labs" which mobilise "clusters" of researchers, including doctoral and post-doctoral students, from complementary disciplines, to develop integrated and systemic approaches around a complex shared issue.
  • Dedicated projects on subjects considered as priorities to structure common, practical tools and develop protocols that can be shared with the greatest number. Set up at the beginning of the programme, these projects rely on operational teams involved in the programme (e.g. demonstration actions, development of tools in the process of maturing, beginning of data structuring to create the OneWater virtual platform, etc.).
  • Equipment to 1) complete the existing and meet the new challenges raised; 2) have sufficient storage capacity for the One Water data platform while limiting its environmental footprint.
  • Education through research actions to train and organise a generation of "OneWater" students who have acquired strong disciplinary expertise and interdisciplinary culture, accompanied by schools shared by researchers and stakeholders, for integrated approaches with new tools.
  • Actions at national, European and international levels associated with existing initiatives to promote the programme's approach, leverage it and increase its visibility.



CNRS, BRGM and INRAE are co-leading OneWater and rely on partners with complementary and recognised skills. They will be represented on the institutional strategic committee, in conjunction with the three institutional leaders. The team of three co-directors also relies on a programme committee organised around the challenges, an international scientific committee and a Think Tank made up of stakeholder representatives to respond to these major issues and generalise the notion of water as a common good.


IFREMER, IRD, Météo France, Bordeaux University, Claude Bernard Lyon 1 University, Montpellier University (Stratégie de site I-MUSE), Grenoble-Alpes University, Rennes 1 University, Strasbourg University (Responsable: Gwenaël Imfeld , FERED), Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées federal university.


Agathe Euzen :
Dominique Darmendrail :
Thibault Datry :


OneWater, an exploratory PEPR of the Investissements d'Avenir plan (PIA4)
Priority research programmes and equipment (PEPR) aim to build or consolidate French leadership in scientific fields considered as priorities at national or European level and linked to a large-scale transformation. The "exploratory" PEPRs target emerging sectors with research work whose fields of application may still be in the realm of working hypotheses. The aim is to explore scientific fields with potentially multiple spin-offs.


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