• Norbert Casteret

  • July 27th, 1936, walkers on the banks of Touvre noticed an unusual sight. A small rubber boat moves on the river. In it a man was behaving oddly, apparently taking measurements and measuring the depths, This man was called Norbert Casteret

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    The year before Norbert Casteret had been at a literary meeting in Angoulême where he had learnt of a letter whose contents left him almost speechless. The letter read : ‘The Touvre waters…stunning discovery . ome from Scandinavia’. The following January Casteret agreed to investigate the waters and we owe him a great deal for the researches he undertook.

    The study that Norbert Casteret began in the month of July 1936 is of importance. We know that in 1908, the president of the office of military hygiene of Angoulême, had made an inquiry into the origins of the Touvre.
    One year later, on March 6, 1909 exactly, the Departmental council met. . It was not only for the satisfaction of knowing but also for public health that it was deemed necessary to know the route the water took. The department’s council of Hygiene had suggested closing the crevices so folk could not throw dead animals in it. Several bacteriological analyses realized in 1912 and in 1914 later showed some pollution of the Touvre. It is only on November 8th, 1926, however, that a report of the Superior Council of Health service suggested the need for the ozonization of the waters of Touvre for the supply of the city of Angoulême.
    And today it is Touvre, and only it, that supplies drinking water to Greater Angoulême and several other municipalities through two pumping and redistribution plants.

    Norbert Casteret’s discoveries about the water are as follows. He found that it is a very short river (10 km) which flows into the river Charente and it is thanks to the waters of the Touvre that the Charente Touvre is navigable to Angoulême. Its exceptional width means that it never overflows. The average flow of the springs is of 12.8m3 / but can vary from 3 to 20 m3/. Nevertheless, there were speeds of 40m3 / in 1904 and from 26 m3 / till March, 1927 (and 32 m3 / in January, 1994). A lesser flow of 1.4 m3 / was recorded in September 1929.

    The speed of flow of subterranean waters is of the order of 54 - 56 m/h in low-water mark, and 98 in 106 m/h in high waters. Because of its underground course, the temperature of the water is almost constant : it oscillates between 8°C and 12°C.