Drought in France: what water restrictions apply in your department?

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Drought in France: what water restrictions apply in your department?
  • Planet
  • Drought in France
  • Golf, swimming pool or watering, the prefectures have multiplied the decrees to limit the use of water on their soils, while a heat wave extends over the east of the country, which increases the risk of drought in France.

Almost all of the France is concerned. On Wednesday August 3, 93 departments out of the 96 in the metropolitan territory were subject to a restriction limiting the use of water. On Thursday, two departments, Creuse and Nièvre, joined the list of departments classified in a “crisis” situation, bringing their number to sixty-two. Four are on alert, twenty-seven on heightened alert. The cause: heat waves and an increasingly intense risk of drought.

According to the government site Propluvia, all departments with the exception of Paris, Hauts-de-Seine and Seine-Saint-Denis, are placed on drought alert on Thursday. To deal with this situation, the prefectures multiplied the decrees during the summer in order to limit the use of water in their departments. The restrictions taken apply according to the severity of the drought and are divided into four categories.

The level of “crisis” – in red on the map – triggers bans in order to preserve water for priority uses, such as health, civil security, drinking water, sanitation and animal watering. Consequently, the watering of green spaces is prohibited, as is the cleaning of surfaces, except in the event of health imperatives. Water withdrawals for agricultural irrigation are also prohibited, with the exception of certain sensitive crops.

The level “reinforced alert” – in orange on the map – leads to a gradual limitation of water withdrawals and a reinforcement of restriction measures, if necessary, in order not to reach the crisis level. For example, the watering of lawns, flower beds and potted plants is prohibited except using drips. In addition, with regard to vegetable gardens, the watering ban time slot is extended from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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The “alert” level – in yellow on the map – only restricts the use water between certain hours to limit its loss by evaporation. Thus, the watering of lawns, flower beds and vegetable gardens is prohibited between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., i.e. during the hottest hours. Car washing at home is reprehensible but remains possible with a professional. These measures aim to reduce our consumption in favor of more economical equipment.

The “call for vigilance” level – in gray on the map – encourages all users, whether industrialists, farmers, communities or individuals, to show restraint in their daily water consumption and to implement more measured practices.

A record number of departments in crisis

The map of Propluvia turned red for a large part of the country on August 4. Among the 93 departments concerned, a good part of the west of the Loire basin with Indre, Loire-Atlantique, Mayenne, Sarthe, Deux-Sèvres, Vendée and Vienne, but also Drôme, the interior of the Var, the Lot or the Val-de-Marne. At the beginning of August 2021, only eleven departments of the metropolis were in a crisis situation, compared to 62 this year.

However, the level of restriction indicated above corresponds to the maximum level decreed on a part (localized) or on the whole of the department. Lower level orders are therefore likely to have been issued by other local authorities. It is possible to find out about them by consulting the Propluvia site, on which they are listed.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers “Laboratory” of drought in the Var: “Taking a shower with your pan, it puts your ideas back in place”

Lucas Rojouan

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