OMERE observatory

OMERE observatory

Scientific context

The Franco-Tunisian OMERE observatory (Observatoire Méditerranéen de l’Environnement Rural et de l’Eau) includes two Mediterranean cultivated catchments: Kamech (Tunisia), and Roujan (Languedoc, France). These two elementary watersheds (2.63 km² for Kamech, 0.91 Km² for Roujan) have a Mediterranean climate with high inter-annual variability in rainfall and a high reference evapotranspiration. These low altitude basins (about 100 m asl) are underlain by Tertiary molassic sedimentary formations: sandstone and marl in Kamech, calcareous silt in Roujan. Roujan is primarily used for viticulture and Kamech for cereal production (wheat, barley, oats).

The OMERE sites have been a center of human activity for millennia and are currently undergoing important changes (intensification of agricultural production in favorable regions, and abandonment in unfavorable regions, increasing pressure on resources, hydro-agricultural or environmental conservation projects) usually linked to a rapid increase in the population.


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Année de départ : 1992

Locations: Kamech, East of Tunis. Roujan East of Montpellier

Keywords:  Mediterranean climate, sedimentary formations, agrosystems, agricultural practices, erosion, evapotranspiration, hydrology, soil properties


Web site:

Jérôme MOLÉNAT (Roujan), Rim Zitouna (Kamech) and
Damien RACLOT (Kamech)

Vue aérienne des bassins versants de Kamech (Tunisie) et de Roujan (France) de l’observatoire OMERE, avec des zooms sur les principaux dispositifs et équipements de mesure et d’observation.
Aerial view of the catchment of Kamech (Tunisia) and Roujan (France) of the OMERE observatory, with zooms on the main devices and equipment of measurement and observation.

Scientific questions

OMERE was initially built around the following scientific questions:

  • What is the impact of land use and environmental development on the hydrological regimes and balances of elementary Mediterranean catchments?
  • What are the dynamics and intensity of the human-induced erosion?
  • What is the impact of human activities on the fate and ecodynamics of phytosanitary products used in agriculture?

OMERE aims to develop a distributed hydrological model in a cultivated environment that allows the simulation of the impacts from various development and land use scenarios.

Sites and measured variables

OMERE is based on the joint acquisition of mid and long-term observation in hydrology (river flow, soil moisture, ground water table), in meteorology, of chemical and physical soil erosion processes, of change in surface and groundwater quality, and the spatio-temporal evolution of anthropogenic actions (land use, hydro-agricultural developments, agricultural and water use practices, water withdrawals…)

On thetwo watersheds, Kamech and Roujan, OMERE develops an observation strategy at various spatial scales, from the plot to the elementary watershed through intermediate sub-basins. The infrastructure includes flow and meteorological stations, flux towers, in situ probes for water quality, automatic surface water samplers, piezometers and a turbidimeter. The multi-scales approach allow for a better understanding of relevant processes and their spatial and temporal dynamics. The goal is to link these measurements with observations of agricultural operations.

Partners and further information

The driving and the onitoring of the observatory are carried out by a Franco-Tunisian consortium composed of the UMR LISAH (Inrae, IRD, Institut Agro), HSM – Hydrosciences Montpellier (CNRS, IRD, Montpellier University), INAT (Tunisia) and INRGREF (Tunisia).