October 13, 2017

Saur acquires startup company ImaGeau and extends its reach into water resource management services

Saur has acquired ImaGeau, the company spun off by the CNRS Géosciences research centre in Montpellier, which specialises in active management of underground water resources. This purchase follows on from an initial national partnership formed in 2016 between Saur and ImaGeau to offer targeted local authorities the opportunity of continual resource monitoring. Imageau was created in Montpellier in 2009 out of a big idea conceived by its three founders: to protect the underground water resource by providing accurate, intensive monitoring using new technologies.

Implementation of this resource monitoring method now enables decision-makers to make better and more relevant choices in public health protection, water use restrictions and optimised borehole location and operation. “So at Châtelaillon-Plage in the Charente-Maritime region of France, for example, we installed our range of Aquavision sensors last year to monitor the underground water resource used by this coastal community. Water consumption can more than double here during the summer, and the local authority was having to deal with the ingress of seawater into the aquifer, resulting in the need to buy water at high prices from neighbouring communities”, explains ImaGeau CEO Olivier Depraz. “Aquavision has given them a better understanding of how the aquifer works, and the ability to manage water abstraction, which in turn has delivered significant cost savings”.

Saur Executive Chairman Louis-Roch Burgard: “The drinking water resource is precious to the point where it poses a challenge for all of us. Acquiring ImaGeau gives Saur the ability to offer local authorities an innovative process that can anticipate periods of drought, ensure optimum water quality and avoid operational overspend. This acquisition is also, and most importantly, a sign that Saur is back on the road to growth following the sale of its waste management business at the beginning of the year, and adoption of its new strategy as a water industry pure player”.

ImaGeau CEO Olivier Depraz: “The benefits of this merger are twofold: combining the power of a major international group to support long-term investment in R&D, development and expertise, at the same time as massively increasing our access to the market and customer feedback”.

The Saur/ImaGeau collaboration began in 2014 with a project to monitor the re-infiltration of treated wastewater at Coutières. Since then, the experts of both entities have expanded the range of services on offer by developing a new range of sensors and a resource data processing and analysis interface known as EMI. These innovative technologies have been rolled out to provide real-time monitoring of the trend in seawater inflows to the Vilaine estuary as the basis for deciding the optimum times for abstracting water from the river, and to provide total control of drinking water production at the Férel plant in the Morbihan region; the largest drinking water production facility in Brittany, supplying around 1 million residents.

The cost of the acquisition has not been disclosed.

Key data

► 27 sites monitored in real time

► 3 million online data items analysed

► Staff: 6 full-time employees with skilled input from the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) under the terms of a scientific collaboration contract

► Clients: the Jordanian Ministry of Water & Irrigation, the Israeli Hydrogeological Service, The Coquimbo region of Chile, the town of Châtelaillon-Plage in France, and the water companies serving Rocailles Bellecombe, Charente-Maritime and other regions of France

ImaGeau develops new monitoring technologies

ImaGeau has recently developed EMI, the resource information portal that analyses and displays the full range of environmental data for the monitored resource.

  • EMI is an online application that can be accessed at any time from any device, including tablets, PCs, Macs, smartphones, etc.
  • EMI offers real-time visualisation of data generated by smart sensors, and provides comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analysis of the monitored resource

EMI provides operators and local authorities with a powerful decision support tool. It allows action to be taken on the basis of reliable, actual data (for long-term initiatives), and also provides a forecast overview of the resource going forward (for medium- to long-term initiatives)

ImaGeau has also developed and patented the SMD (Subsurface Monitoring Device) which is specifically adapted for use in monitoring seawater penetration of coastal aquifers.

System is installed in a borehole. Fitted with sensors, it provides easy, straightforward visualisation of the location and trend in seawater penetration. Data are monitored in real time at the Operations Control Centre (the water service ‘control tower’), which analyses the data and makes them available to the local authority via the CPO© Online interface. The SMD offers local authorities a solution for the long-term operation and management of their water resource, and the protection of their operating assets.

Press Contacts

Laurent Maillard - ++ 33 (0)6 60 59 77 07 - laurent.maillard@saur.com