42 departments face water restrictions
Low rainfall since September 2016 prompts drought warnings across more than a third of the country
While many people made the most of the heatwave that baked France in mid-June, the hot weather has hit already low water levels across the country.
The threat of drought now extends across a third of the country, with 42 departments now enforcing water restrictions, the Propluvia website reported on Monday.
A dozen - Marne, Ardennes, Loire-Atlantique, Vendée, Charente, Gers, Indre, Tarn, Lot, Deux-Sèvres, Seine-Maritime and Eure - are on the highest alert, meaning water use is restricted to 'priority use', namely health, civil security, drinking water and sanitation.
The remainder are on 'yellow alert', which restricts the amount of water farmers may use, and means private individuals are banned from watering their gardens or washing their cars.
It is hoped fresher weather and more rainfall expected from this week will help ease the situation.
Rainfall across the country has been below average since September 2016, meaning water levels were already very low before last week's heatwave.
High temperatures have accentuated the drying of soil, especially in the Hauts-de-France and part of the Grand-Est region, according to the Environment Ministry, which said it would 'give instructions to the prefects to monitor the situation and take the necessary measures'.
June 2017 was the second warmest on record across the whole of France, behind only June 2003.