1st region for cereal production in Europe;
5th industrial region in France;
2nd region for electricity production;
4th region for irrigation water consumption
Background in the Region
The Region Centre is crossed over by the Loire River, registered in the UNESCO list of the World Heritage sites. It is characterized by its wetlands in the Brenne and in Sologne, as well as the Beauce Groundwater which is main freshwater reservoir for irrigation.
Role of Water in the Region
Focused on environmental technologies, the pole is positioned on the sustainability of water management and its associated environment: surface water, groundwater, soil, sub-soil, wetlands due to local characteristics. The pole can rely on strong local and regional policies for water and environment, on national and international centers of reference for knowledge on water resources and its interactions with soil, sub- soil, forests, natural wetlands ( the Region Centre has nearly 10 % of national wetlands), biodiversity, and geothermal resources; on a network of more than 1,000 researchers and specific training courses related water resources management (e.g. courses on Engineering on Aquatic Environments and Riverine Corridors at the University of Tours) , as well as the presence and expertise of major water companies and major industrial users of environmental technologies and services developed within the cluster (food , cosmetics, pharmaceuticals … ) . Beyond the Loire River, including with the extraction of aggregates, another feature is the strong presence of agriculture.
These characteristics have led to the emergence of new competences within SMEs, associated with the arising needs related to the study, engineering and management of water resources and its associated environments. They also created skills on the assessment of the quality of resources and its associated environments (study and diagnosis) and on the assessment of environmental impacts of agricultural and industrial activities. The results will then contribute to decision-making on eg. energy projects, agricultural practices (irrigation), management of water resources restoration projects and land reclamation.
Link with RTD and Innovation
The main objectives of the “pôle de compétitivité” DREAM Eau et Milieux (Competitiveness Cluster) are to foster innovation, develop R&D and technology to help raise the competitiveness of SMEs on national and international markets. It gathers SMEs, universities, research centres, start-ups, international groups, and industries. Between 2011 and 2013, 38 millions € of collaborative R&D and innovation projects were financed through the pole. The French specificity of “the poles de compétitivité” has somehow been a precursor for developing a structured innovation ecosystem within the water and wastewater areas.