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A War on Sediment? Understanding and Managing Solid Transport in the Rhone Watershed (1840-1920)

Abstract : Today, sediments are increasingly politicised, notably through the integration of sediment continuity into the principles of 'ecological' river management. Although this politicisation can be seen as an extension of the rise of a greater concern for environmental preservation that began in scientific, militant, and political circles in the 1970s, we will show that the political dimension of sediments is in fact much older. The particles carried by rivers have been at the heart of state planning concerns since the development of the public authorities' prerogative over the organisation of the territory in the 19th century. A brief review of the trajectories of the politicisation of sediments illustrates the idea of state hostility towards the sedimentary deposits of the Rhône, which were considered excessive and problematic for the development of economic activities involving the river. In this context, the manipulation, but above all the strict limitation of sedimentary processes, became a relevant political objective throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. The history of sediment management provides a basis for historicising the contemporary process of sediment 'starvation.' This process can be understood as much as the consequence of the technical development of industrial engineering as the ecological translation of a political undertaking defended since the 19th century.
Keywords : OHM Vallee du Rhone
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Conference poster
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Contributor : Mathieu Massaviol Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Friday, August 19, 2022 - 4:25:59 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, August 24, 2022 - 3:47:18 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Sunday, November 20, 2022 - 6:30:37 PM


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Titouan Souquet, Santiago Gorostiza, Giacomo Parrinello. A War on Sediment? Understanding and Managing Solid Transport in the Rhone Watershed (1840-1920). International Symposium of LabEx DRIIHM 2022, Jun 2022, Nantes, France. , 2022, ⟨10.34972/driihm-a8385f⟩. ⟨hal-03754599⟩



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