MétéEAU Nappes, a tool for monitoring and forecasting groundwater (France)

MétéEAU Nappes

a tool for monitoring and forecasting groundwater (France)

MétéEAU Nappes

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People in charge of the innovative practice :

Bruno MOUGIN – b.mougin@brgm.fr

MétéEau Nappes is an innovative web platform to help groundwater management in France. It is developed administered and hosted by the French Geological Survey (BRGM). Its development was initiated in a context of climate change and conflicts of uses, leading to an increase in pressure and therefore the need to optimize the management of water resources in France. The objective of this management practice is to inform/alert near real time, on the level of water tables, to anticipate a possible drought situation in low water, and finally to foresee a period of high water with flooding possible problems. The platform offers a set of innovative services allowing: (i) the collection and dissemination of water cycle data, (ii) the display of the situation of the water tables in real time and the monitoring of the past or future behavior of aquifers in France, (iii) a decision support service with forecasts for the management of water resources in sensitive territories, and (iv) an API associated with the website.

Meteorological, hydrological and piezometric data are put online in real time and in interoperable format on several representative sites in metropolitan France. It is thus possible, for the monitoring points currently proposed and associated with a global hydrological model, to view the most recent measurements from the national piezometric network and especially forecasts of groundwater levels. These data are made available in the form of maps and dynamic curves based on modelling and forecasting of low and high water levels. Associated with the global models used (Gardénia, EROS and Tempo ©BRGM), these data allow to forecast the water table level. These forecasts, launched up to 6 months in the future, are compared to piezometric thresholds of drought from the prefectural orders of restriction of use in progress. The forecasts can also be self-refreshing (currently monthly).

The year 2021 marks the opening in February of the web platform to the general public. The main users are: (i) groundwater experts (French Ministries (MTE/ DGALN and DGPR), Institutionnal (DREAL, DDT(M), Flood Forecasting Services, Water Agencies…), (ii) private partners, (iii) local authorities, EPCIs, EPTBs, the Mixed Syndicates of the basin, (iv) farmers, (v) consultancies, universities and (vi) the press.

The perspectives of evolution of this groundwater management practice are, the extension of the number of monitored sites, the deployment on a European or even international scale, and the integration of new modeling tools (artificial intelligence methods, mesh models, semi-distributed models) to obtain other predictions.

Responsible entity

The BRGM (Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières) is responsible for MétéEAU Nappes. BRGM is the French national geological survey. It is the French public establishment of reference in the applications of Earth sciences to manage the resources and risks of the soil and subsoil. BRGM was created in 1959. It is a public establishment of an industrial and commercial nature (EPIC). Placed under the supervision of the Ministries of Research, Ecology and Economy, it is based in Orléans (France). BRGM’s activities cover several areas: scientific research, expertise, innovation and transfer, analysis and experimentation, mine prevention and safety, higher education, continuing professional education, dissemination of knowledge and open science. It employs more than 1,000 people, including more than 700 engineers and researchers, in its 27 regional offices in metropolitan and overseas France. Its teams operate in some 30 countries. Six major scientific and societal issues structure BRGM’s scientific strategy: geology and knowledge of the subsoil, groundwater management, risks and land use planning, mineral resources and the circular economy, energy transition and the underground space, data, services and digital infrastructures.

Detailed explanation

The services and functionalities offered by MétéEAU Nappes are : (i) a web interface;

nappes du fossé Rhénan

(ii) a historical and real time display of meteorological data, groundwater and surface water data provided by the SCHAPI, Météo-France and BRGM; (iii) maps of the groundwater situation on the current date or forecast outputs according to various climatic scenarios; (iv) curves superimposing piezometric levels (historical, real time data, forecast levels; drought/flood piezometric thresholds), river flows and rainfall in real time; (v) automatic monthly refreshment with Gardénia of the forecasted groundwater level data with recent meteorological data; (vi) provision of metadata associated with forecasts: model used, time step, calibration period, correlation coefficient, taking into account or not of withdrawals, coast of the natural ground at the right of the piezometer, bibliographical sources of the piezometric thresholds. and (vii) a dynamic private application programming interface (API).

This web platform contributes in particular to the national hydrological situation bulletin for the groundwater component, but also to the forecasting of the evolution of surface water by grouping together the regional hydrogeological models on a national platform (AQUI-FR project).

The technological means used to achieve these services are: GPRS technology (currently deployed on nearly 1500 stations of the national piezometric network) allowing to provide daily measured data, as well as a dedicated technical architecture based on international standards and on recent technologies allowing the crossing of real time data from different sources and the valorization of modelling already done.

MétéEAU Nappes is a real decision-making tool for water resource management in high-stake territories which offers a set of varied services useful for the management of low water levels and risks of flooding by rising water tables: (i) display of the situation of the water tables on the current date and in the future thanks to the use of the web service of calculation of the SPI (Standardised Piezometric Indicator) for the piezometric data in real time but also for the forecasting data; (ii) collection and diffusion in real time of the groundwater data (about 1500 works of the 1600 managed by the BRGM allow an automatic daily provision of the data); (iii) provision of the most recent data on the surface water and the pluviometry; (iv) decision support service for water management on the territories (integration of piezometric thresholds of restriction of the drought decrees); (v) maps and curves refreshed at each connection date (dynamic information); (vi) possible automatic monthly refreshment of the predictive data of groundwater levels; (vii) reserved access allowing to have access to specific models, a particular geographical sector; (viii) API (Application Programming Interface) allowing to exchange directly data with MétéEAU Nappes.

Météeau Nappes

Institutional setting

The platform is edited, managed and subsidized by BRGM. The stakeholders of this practice are BRGM and its institutional partners (Météo-France). Within the framework of the implementation of the GEMAPI and in a climate change context, knowing in real time the availability of water resources and being able to forecast the level of the water tables are essential information for the actors of the water sector. Indeed, they allow to: (i) characterize the particularities of a site, (ii) optimize resource management by adapting groundwater withdrawals and managing conflicts of use, (iii) make decisions in the face of a water shortage or overflow, and (iv) test scenarios to anticipate the effects of climate change.

Geographical setting

The practice takes place on several sites representative of the metropolitan France. The geographical framework of this practice is intended to extend to the European and international scale, in particular in England via the INTERREG Water for Tomorrow project, in Spain and Portugal via the INTERREG SUDOE AQUIFER project, and in South Africa (in Cape Town).

Historical overview

The main steps in implementing this practice were:

  • 2015: launch of the BRGM internal research project;
  • 2017: deployment of a prototype;
  • 2019: website went into production (dedicated URL accessible only to BRGM);
  • 2020: restricted opening of the website;
  • 2021: opening of the website.

The main triggers of this implementation were: the desire of the press, of the public and state services to have information on the probability of floods or droughts in relation to the current level of the water table, support from BRGM in terms of funding, the multidisciplinary expertise of BRGM to realize a proof of concept, and strong support by BRGM innovation, valorization and transfer unit (value proposition, business model).

The obstacles encountered were the need to argue to prove the viability of the project, and the interoperability of the data which was sometimes limited.

Evidence of benefits from implementation

There is no evidence of the benefits of this practice as there is no real feedback yet. However, there is evidence that the practice is evolving and that there are benefits to using it. Notable developments are: (i) an agreement with Veolia for the creation of a new value proposition to their customers, (ii) the addition of around twelve points modeled for the MTE/DEB Department (contribution to the national map of drought risk on water bodies for the summer), and finally (iii) the agreement within the framework of the AQUIFER Sudoe project which will allow for the addition of 6 more points.

Replication potential in SUDOE region

The management practice is not intended to be replicated, but the number of points is bound to increase. The implementation of MétéEau Nappes has required a multidisciplinary team of 5 part-time people (hydrogeologists, modelers, computer developers, sensor specialists, etc.). The project did not benefit from subsidies but was self-financed by BRGM. It should be noted that since 2021, several projects of support to public policies, research projects and international projects have been signed.

Future outlook

The short term evolution perspectives are : (i) the agreement with partners to add points in MétéEAU Nappes; (ii) the addition of several points thanks to programs (INTERREG SUDOE AQUIFER, Val de Saône, Water For Tomorrow, …); (iii) forecasts in relation to meteorological factors but also in relation to abstraction scenarios (VEOLIA and Water For Tomorrow); (iv) the use of the ERA5 climate database for climate data (20×20 km grid) which will allow to associate to each model the forecast data at D-5 i; (v) the integration of forecasts coming from other software (mesh, global, reservoir, semi-distributed models? ); (vi) deployment on a European scale.

The long-term perspectives are: (i) moving towards new AI-based modeling tools to obtain predictions; (ii) adding a batch process with recovery of results from other models; (iii) displaying information associated with climate change (climate scenarios, hydrological balances, water level forecasts), (iv) international deployment.

Key points of the innovative method

> Monitoring of the situation in real time and forecasting of groundwater
> Collection and dissemination of data on a web platform open to the public and experts
> Decision support service for sustainable water management in the territories


The innovative practice was suggested by Sandra BERANGER (BRGM), and Bruno MOUGIN (BRGM) participated in the interviews.


BRGM, (2020). Rapport d’activités. https://rapport-activite.brgm.fr/sites/default/files/2021-09/brgm_rapport-annuel_2020.pdf, pages 8-22-23.

Mougin B., Nicolas J., Vigier Y., Bessière H., Loigerot S. (2020). « MétéEAU Nappes » : un site Internet contenant des services utiles à la gestion des étiages. La Houille Blanche, numéro 5, p. 28-36. https://doi.org/10.1051/lhb/2020045

Surdyk N., Thiéry D., Nicolas J., Gutierrez A., Vigier Y., Mougin B. (2022). MétéEAU Nappes: a real-time water-resource-management tool and its application to a sandy aquifer in a high-demand irrigation context. Hydrogeology Journal. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10040-022-02509-1


Bienvenue sur le site web MétéEAU Nappes : https://meteeaunappes.brgm.fr/fr

MétéEAU Nappes, un outil de suivi en temps réel et de prévision du niveau des nappes : https://www.brgm.fr/fr/solutions/meteeau-nappes-outil-suivi-temps-reel-prevision-niveau-nappes

Communiqué de presse, MétéEAU Nappes, une plateforme pour aider à la gestion de l’eau souterraine : https://www.brgm.fr/fr/actualite/communique-presse/meteeau-nappes-plateforme-aider-gestion-eau-souterraine

Site web MétéEAU Nappes : https://www.brgm.fr/fr/site-web/meteeau-nappes

MétéEAU Nappes, guide d’aide à l’utilisation du site web : https://meteeaunappes.brgm.fr/sites/websites/meteeaunappes.brgm.fr/files/documents/2022-05/BRGM_Guide_aide_utilisation_M%C3%A9t%C3%A9EAU-Nappes_2022.pdf

BRGM : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bureau_de_recherches_g%C3%A9ologiques_et_mini%C3%A8res – consulté en ligne le 24 janvier 2022


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