France Correspondent Mélanie Erostate holds a PhD in hydrogeology from the University of Corsica, France. her research focused on understanding coastal groundwater-dependent hydrosystems, such as coastal wetlands and lagoons. During her PhD, Mélanie carried out research stays at Polytechnique Montréal, Canada, funded by a Mitacs Globalink research grant and at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi as well as an Erasmus+ training mobility at the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. After her thesis, she continued her research as a postdoc on a transdisciplinary project aimed at understanding the degradation and restoration trajectories of hydro-ecosystems. Mélanie then decided to join the French public services to work on operational groundwater management.
What is your area of expertise?
"I'm a hydrogeologist specializing in isotope hydrology and groundwater geochemistry. I'm particularly interested in the understanding and operational management of groundwater. This involves understanding hydrological processes (recharge mechanisms, mixing processes, water residence time, etc.) and aquifer vulnerability to pollutants, but also transdisciplinary approach and consensus-building process to sustainable water management."
Why did you decide to join the Groundwater Correspondents Network?
"It was a natural choice! I’m convinced that sustainable management of water resources rests on two foundations: improving knowledge and local ownership. That's why I've always been very involved in the dissemination of knowledge and scientific mediation. In the context of climate change, we need more than ever to collectively develop and implement relevant solutions. What better way than to share inspiring experiences!"
Which topics would you like to cover during your period as correspondent ?
"I’d like to focus on two main topics. The first one is the need for integrated management of coastal groundwater-dependent hydrosystems. As for the hydrosystem of the Biguglia lagoon in Corsica, France, a large majority of coastal wetlands have been drained or degraded over the last century. More than half have disappeared worldwide. Restoration and protection strategies are now being developed. However, the lack of knowledge and consideration of groundwater affects their effectiveness. The second concerns the key role of water saving in sustainable groundwater management strategies. Finding new resources to exploit is a long, complex and expensive process, particularly for groundwater. Besides, this solution is only sustainable if it's part of a process to reduce consumption. But how do you mobilize and raise awareness among all stakeholders and citizens of all ages and backgrounds? The French department of the world’s wine capital (a.k.a. Bordeaux) with its 25 years of water-saving initiatives, could provide some answers."