1990 - January: Demonstrators
stop roadworks meant for the construction of the Serre de la Fare dam.
- February 5: Responding to Jean Royer, who had said that construction
of Serre de la Fare wouldn't be stopped by "ten nitwits", SOS Loire
Vivante, to show its strength, summons up 300 of its members in two
hours for a demonstration in Brives-Charensac.
- February 6: Loire Vivante meets Prime Minister Michel Rocard.
- February 7: First government communication concerning the Loire.
The state proposes to the EPALA a chart on the global management
of the Loire, which would guarantee population safety against major
floods and sufficient water supply, as well as preserve the natural
environment. It would be based on the following principles:
* considering its cost and its impact on the environment, the
Serre de la Fare dam project will have to undergo further studies. In
the meantime, the state will study alternative solutions: dykes and
"dry dam" (a "dry dam" only retains water in case of a flood; there
is no permanent reservoir);
* the Le Veurdre dam project will be meant only to control exceptional
* Naussac II, which will help fill up the existing Naussac reservoir,
will be built;
* the capacity of the Chambonchard reservoir will be reexamined
in 1990, considering the study of future needs, notably in terms of
* better maintenance of the Loire river bed and publication of
a register compiling all the areas liable to flooding;
* a program of protection of the natural environment and other
measures will be launched.
- June: Publication of the GRRM sociological study
on the 1980 flood. It shows the lack of prevention (notably urbanization
in areas liable to flooding) and the lack of an adequate flood-alert
system, partly due to the local culture, which is aware of the dangers
of the Loire but forgets the risk of exceptional floods. The local authorities'
1982 decision to support Serre de la Fare partakes in this attitude
and shows their refusal to assume the responsibility to protect the
population: with a dam, responsibility is shifted to the state. The
issue of the dam has also shifted attention from the improvements which
have taken place since 1980 in terms of prevention and flood-alert.
- August 18-September 2: "The Salmon Migration":
25 major obstacles are found on the salmon route upstream the Loire
and the Allier rivers. From the estuary up to the Allier spawning grounds,
this walk shows how the river and its symbol, the salmon, are hurt by
- September: Second advertizing campaign launched
by SOS Loire Vivante. "A free Loire, a source of life".
- September: The "fourth solution". SOS Loire
Vivante publishes a document on the "4th solution". It advocates minor
works on the Loire bed to let the flood go past; suppressing some obstacles
which worsen the flood by spreading the water, an ecological maintenance
of the riverbanks, strict enforcement of the interdiction to build in
areas liable to flooding and an improvement of the flood-alert system.
- November 8-16: SOS Loire Vivante organizes a
weeklong conference on water in Le Puy. Lectures, meetings, slide-shows...
- November 17: "Live with the river" colloquium
in Le Puy. Organized by Loire Vivante et SOS Loire Vivante to go deeper
into the causes and consequences of the 1980 flood and to find
alternatives to a dam, this colloquium is an occasion to discuss a certain
"risk culture", prevention, information of the population. Several important
speeches, notably that of M.Mousel, Director of Water, Pollution Prevention
and Risks at the Environment Ministry.
- December: SOS Loire Vivante launches a subscription
"Let's buy back the Upper Loire Valley", in order to secure strategic
plots of land to oppose the dam construction and to begin working on
the sustainable development aspect of the 4th solution.
- December 3: Brice Lalonde suggests to local
authorities that they hold a referendum about the Serre de la Fare dam
- December 1rst-16: Exhibit about the four solutions
in Le Puy, with Loire Vivante, SOS Loire Vivante, the EPALA and the
Environment ministry. Out of the 1,000 depositions recorded by visitors
on the register of grievances, 800 favor the 4th Solution.
- December 12: Initiated by SOS Loire Vivante,
the Collectif Haute-Loire Vivante, uniting 23 associations and political
parties and 45 000 member-strong, is created.
- December 21: The Environment Ministry publishes
a poll favorable to SOS Loire Vivante. A sample of Haute-Loire inhabitants
has been polled on their opinions about Serre de la Fare. This poll
shows that the 4th solution is favored by a majority of people. SOS
Loire Vivante appears as the most trusted lobby dealing with this issue.
- Late December: the mayors refuse to organize
1991 - January 23: SOS
Loire Vivante meets the "préfet" of Haute-Loire. 10,000 petitions
favoring the 4th solution, collected in 2 weeks, are brought to him
in a wheelbarrow.
- January 26: the CABLE is created. It is a committee
inside the EPALA, made of mayors, town councillors..., local representatives,
who oppose the views of the president of the EPALA and who favor those
of Loire Vivante.
- February 7: The state-approval ("DUP") is invalidated
by the administrative court of Clermont-Ferrand. The EPALA files
an appeal with the Council of State ("Conseil d'Etat"), the highest
authority in this kind of case.
- March/June: A study is led by the hydrology
laboratory SOGREAH and ordered by SOS Loire Vivante, about the different
patterns of floods in Brives-Charensac.
- June: SOS Loire Vivante begins to clear and
mark out 14 paths in the Upper Loire Valley, to promote "green" tourism.
- June 15: Demonstration of the Collectif Haute-Loire
Vivante in Paris. The demonstration rallies 400 people from the Haute-Loire
"département". A delegation meets with Prime Minister's advisers.
- June: Negociation session between the state
and the EPALA at the Prime Minister's. Meeting on the 4th solution at
the Environment Ministry with Loire Vivante et SOS Loire Vivante.
- July 29: Action on the Allier river against
the Naussac II project and to ask that the Poutès-Monistrol dam,
an obstacle for salmon migration, be demolished: about 30 demonstrators
enter the hydro-electric power station of Monistrol d'Allier. This action
is part of a week-long series of actions led by SOS Loire Vivante and
Robin des Bois on the upper Allier river.
- July 31: Government decision about the Loire,
announced by Prime Minister Edith Cresson and Environment Secretary
The government confirms what had been announced on February 90.
* Serre de la Fare is abandoned: the government favors minor hydraulic
works on the bed of the Loire and improvement of the information and
* Chambonchard is cancelled: the government proposes that the
existing Rochebut dam be heightened to reach a capacity of 100 Mm3 to
fulfill needs for drinkable, industrial and farming water and to insure
* Naussac II is confirmed, as a complementary supply for the Naussac
* as for Le Veurdre, the EPALA will have to elaborate a pilot
study taking into consideration the effects of a better maintenance
of the bed of the Allier.
Furthermore, the goverment announces a policy of active maintenance
of the river, a program to protect the natural environment, the creation
of a Loire Observatory and the protection of areas liable to flooding
from further development.
- October 5 and 6: Victory Party at the Serre
de la Fare dam site. SOS Loire Vivante decides that the occupation of
the dam site will continue until the EPALA gives land that has been
bought to build Serre de la Fare back to the farmers. Indeed, in spite
of the government decision, the EPALA continues buying land meant for
the Serre de la Fare dam project.
1992 - During the year,
farmers from the Upper Loire Valley, SOS Loire Vivante, a farmers' trade
union (La Confédération Paysanne) and the CIVAM (Center
for information and popularization of agriculture and the rural world)
create a new structure, the "Upper Loire Valley Farmers". They want
to develop diversification, rural tourism, better products and local
- February 20: SOS Loire Vivante buys an old farm
on the upper valley of the Loire, Bonnefont with part of the funds raised
by the subscription "Let's buy back the Upper Loire Valley". The funds
have now reached more than 250,000F.
- April: Loire Vivante, represented by its coordinator,
Christine Jean, receives the Goldman Prize for Europe in San Francisco.
This prize, amounting to $60 000, is given to environmental organizations
with outstanding results.
- August: The "préfet" publishes a new
emergency plan for floods in Haute-Loire.
- Fall: Auditions of the different points of view
on the Loire by a Parliament commission. The commission comes to Haute-Loire.
- October 13: the Chambonchard project is reopened
by the government of Prime Minister Bérégovoy. Environment
Minister Ségolène Royal announces that a small 50Mm3 reservoir
will be built.
- December: The state launches technical studies
concerning the alternative solutions to the Serre de la Fare dam project.
- December 18: The Loire Cabin, on the occupied
Serre de la Fare dam, burns down. There is no doubt that the fire has
been set voluntarily, but the police investigation will have no results.
- December: Publication of the parliamentary report
on the Loire management: it concludes that Serre de la Fare is the only
means to fully protect Brives-Charensac from floods. However, all the
alternative solutions should be tried before construction is decided:
reinforcement of the alert and emergency systems, strict enforcement
of the interdiction to build in areas liable to flooding, removal of
the plants and houses built in dangerous areas. A small Chambonchard
is deemed to be necessary for water supply (the quantity of which should
be reevaluated); Naussac II should be built. The commission has reservations
about the usefulness of the Le Veurdre dam.It also advocates a better
maintenance of the bed and banks of the river, total stop of gravel
extractions, a program to avoid eutrophication of the river, a better
balance between environment protection and economic development of the
port of Nantes on the estuary, and other measures of protection of the
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