Fish: a reliable touchstone of water quality
Trout are well-known indicators of water quality. Some water production plants still have aquariums, dubbed "trout meters," in which the behavior of trout is observed in order to assess water quality.
In rivers, counting the number of species and specimens in the water provides a reliable gauge of quality.
"The study of living organisms measures the real impact of human activities on nature. Our activities, especially wastewater treatment, have a direct impact on the ecological health of rivers, since the water we treat is discharged into rivers and streams. At every site we operate, we comply scrupulously with regulations and are stepping up the number of biological measurements to assess vulnerable streams."
Fisherman and manager of Veolia Water's Center in the Var area(southeastern France)
Veolia Water has opted to work closely with fishermen on its protection initiatives and has established partnerships in France, Central and Eastern Europe.
Veolia Water partners with sport fishermen
Olivier Cavallo initiated a partnership with a French fly fishing association, the Fédération française de pêche à la mouche et au lancer.
"Besides providing civic-minded support for the Federation, we tap into their knowledge of rivers. In Seine-et-Marne, the Federation educated Veolia Water's managers about wastewater treatment's effects on the number of macroinvertebrates, measured using biological indicators."
Since moving to the Var region a year ago, Olivier Cavallo has been working on a new partnership with the region's sport fishing federation.
"Fishermen are the guardians of rivers. They are the first to observe pollution. We consider it essential to be informed as soon as possible, so that we can act immediately if one of our treatment plants is the source of the pollution."
Veolia Water has teamed up with Jakub Vágner, a fisherman famous for setting a number of records, and his Freshwater Giants Foundation to launch a five-year program to restock rivers.
Each year some 4,000 fish, weighing collectively close to 2.5 metric tons, are released into streams.
"We wanted to be sure that the trout would come back to the rivers. That's why, after consulting with Jakub Vágner, we decided to release large fish of different sizes and ages, so they would have a better chance of surviving and reproducing. This year we even managed to introduce fish just before the spawning season."
Veolia Water's CSR Manager in Prague
The reintroduction site was selected with Jakub Vágner, in the Střela River near Plzeň. The Czech Fishing Federation (CRS) and local sport fishing associations joined forces on the project. In particular, they have committed to sport fishing only in areas where fish are being reintroduced to comply with the "catch and release" rule advocated by Jakub Vágner.
Local fishermen not only help out with releasing fish, they also monitor the growth of stocks and keep an eye on the river to curtail poaching.
"It is estimated that 70% to 80% of the fish introduced last year survived."
President of the local union of the Czech Fishing Federation
According to Jakub Vágner, the project is already a success.
"After three years I can give the project very high marks; the fish are here and fishermen catch them and throw them back, so we have even exceeded our expectations."
New release sites are being considered.
"The next sites will have to be chosen carefully, especially because of the cormorant population, which has done a lot of damage in Bohemia the last few years."
Veolia Water is working to expand the project to other geographic areas, notably Slovakia, Hungary and Romania, where Veolia Water also contributes actively to protecting the Danube delta and participated in an initiative to reintroduce sturgeons into the river in March 2012.
"Our partnerships with sport fishermen show how involved we are in all our host regions and our desire to position ourselves not just as a global water and wastewater management expert but a locally responsible operator."
Executive Officer, Veolia Water
Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environnement, is the world leader in water and wastewater services. Specialized in outsourcing services for municipal authorities, as well as industrial and service companies, it is also one of the world's major designers of technological solutions and constructor of facilities needed in water and wastewater services. With 89,094 employees, Veolia Water provides water services to 100 million people and wastewater services to 71 million. Its 2012 revenue amounted to €12.078 billion.
Veolia Environnement (Paris Euronext: VIE and NYSE: VE) is the worldwide reference in environmental solutions. With 220,000 employees*, the company has operations all around the world and provides tailored solutions to meet the needs of municipal and industrial customers in three complementary segments: water management, waste management and energy management. Veolia Environnement recorded revenue of €29.4 billion* in 2012. www.veolia.com
* Excluding Veolia Transdev employees and revenues currently under divestment
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