Early warning and emergency management for the Gironde estuary

In the framework of the Theseus project, CETMEF and the technical study and engineering center of Southwestern France have developed a new early warning system for the Bec d'Ambès area, a part of the Gironde estuary at the confluence of the Dordogne and Garonne rivers.


It is based on the Osiris software (FP5) developed by CETMEF with Loire and Meuse waterboards. Osiris provides decision makers at the local level a general frame to gather information about the stakes of their territory, about the human and material resources available for emergency management, and about the current state of knowledge about flood hazard. This information will help the decision makers to establish an emergency management plan in a form compatible with legal national regulations and enable them to implement this plan in real time when the disaster is striking.


The database was prepared by identifying all the major stakes on the study site. The municipalities involved also provided data about all resources (firemen, policemen, technical services, vehicles, specialized equipment) they can rely on in case of a flood. A 2D shallow-water numerical model translated real data of tide, storm surge and river discharges in successive flooding states which accurately describe the height of the water in different areas and the level of damage at each stake. When the water height at any given location exceeds a threshold, the software provides in real time a list of actions that have to be carried out to ensure safety of people and goods.


By François Hissel


Description of a stake in Osiris

Osiris2Successive flooding states for an upcoming disaster

Osiris3 Map of water levels for a flooding state

Osiris4Main stakes on the Bec d'Ambès area