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A protected basin The Avène impluvium, at the heart of a natural environment and protected biodiversity

An impluvium is a geographical area that contributes to the water supply of a river.
Avène is a vast area, located within the Haut-Languedoc Regional Nature Park, where rainwater infiltrates the subsoil.

Every drop that penetrates the earth will go on to feed the Avène spring after an underground journey of more than 50 years, down to a depth of 1500 metres. To ensure the quality of this water at its source, the natural environment surrounding it must be protected.
Therefore, human activities around the impluvium are very limited and strictly controlled.

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A drop of spring water

A unique site

 

What makes the Avène impluvium so special?

This is where Avène Thermal Spring Water starts its journey. Because of its location at the crossroads of the Mediterranean, mountain and continental climates of the upper Orb valley, the Avène impluvium is truly unique.

Rainwater flows into the basin and goes on a long journey through its underground depths. As it progresses, it warms up and becomes enriched with biological and mineral elements that provide its soothing, anti-irritaning, and softening properties.

Surface and depths of the impluvium

The basin is 27 km². The relief is very marked between the Avène Hydrotherapy Centre at an altitude of 340 metres and the highest peaks at 1022 metres.

Although it rains on average 1200 millimetres of water per year, only part of this water infiltrates deep into the ground to give birth to Avène Thermal Spring Water later on.

The other part remains at a shallow depth and feeds the water supply catchments in the area.

All our activities are carried out with respect for biodiversity.

Séverine Roullet-FurnemontHead of CSR and Sustainable Development for the Pierre Fabre Group

A green site

Regional nature parks have a development model based on the enhancement and protection of natural heritage, considered rich and fragile. The Avène impluvium thus benefits from measures to protect the fauna and flora, the water, and the soil of the Haut-Languedoc Regional Nature Park.

76% of the park consists of forests, with a mixture of deciduous (oak, beech, chestnut) and coniferous (pine and douglas fir) trees.

Agricultural land accounts for 22% of the area and is mainly used for pasture and forage crops.

Groundwater protection forests

The trees that surround the Avène basin keep the soil moist and are essential for preserving the integrity of our water resources.

This is why, since 2018, we have been seeking the expertise and recommendations of the Organisme National des Forêts (National Forestry Organisation, ONF) to help us ensure the sustainable management of the forest park.

To preserve biodiversity and the animal species that live there, the Avène-les-Bains site has been approved as an LPO refuge by the Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux (League for the Protection of Birds).

The role of the Water Research Centre

The Water Research Centre guarantees the quality of Avène Thermal Spring Water and that its source continues to exist.

This research centre also has an observation, analysis, and information function for Avène Thermal Spring Water and its basin.

Protecting the source and the Avène impluvium means acting at the source itself, on the formation of the water, on the soils, the forests, and on the water resources of the area.

API'A, Association for the Preservation of the Avène Water Impluvium

For over 30 years, we have made the quality and benefits of Avène Thermal Spring Water a central concern. The protection of the environment and biodiversity, in which this unique resource is born and lives, is essential. Created on 22 March 2021, on our initiative with the Avène Town Hall, API'A aims to contribute to the preservation of the Impluvium, alongside the territory’s stakeholders. To do this, and to define the project and the work carried out by the association, we involved them at every stage of the planning.

The work of the API'A Association

API'A will facilitate local initiatives to protect the Impluvium's water resources. The association will implement environmental and awareness-raising actions, particularly in the areas of sustainable forest management, responsible agriculture, and the preservation of local biodiversity. The first work carried out by the association will be individual diagnoses, on 10 voluntary forest properties in the area, to define the areas of improvement for the sustainable management of these plots; the optimisation of the recycling of agricultural plastic waste and the financing of equipment to improve the management of agricultural wastewater.