81 French departments on drought alert

Numerous departments have several alerts

Water restrictions are now in place in 81 departments across France, as - despite the storms that battered eastern parts of the country on Thursday - the drought continues.

A total of 171 specific orders have been issued across those 81 departments to encourage or require professionals and individuals to save water, according to the French government's Propluvia website. Numerous departments have different levels of alert depending on the situation in highly localised areas.

In areas on yellow alert, residents may may see water activities restricted for certain hours a day - usually from 8h to 20h - for up to three days a week; those on orange may be restricted for up to five days a week; and those on red alert will face an almost-total ban on any water use not for personal hygiene or drinking. The precise rules in each affected area will be on display at the local mairie where restrictions are in place, and on local department websites.

A total 38 departments have at least one red crisis alert are. The departments concerned (marked red on the map) are Ain, Allier, Aude, Aveyron, Charente, Cher, Côte-d'Or, Creuse, Deux-Sèvres, Dordogne, Eure, Eure-et-Loir, Gers, Gironde, Haute-Garonne, Haute-Loire, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Vienne, Ille-et-Vilaine, Indre, Indre-et-Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Loiret, Loir-et-Cher, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne, Maine-et-Loire, Nièvre, Oise, Puy-de-Dôme, Saône-et-Loire, Sarthe, Seine-et-Marne, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Vendée, Vienne and Yonne.

In affected areas, which are specifically and carefully identified on the official notices, water use is restricted to health, public safety, drinking water, sanitation.

Another 23 have areas that are on enhanced (orange) alert. These are Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Ardèche, Bouches-du-Rhône, Cantal, Charente-Maritime, Doubs, Gard, Haute-Saône, Hérault, Isère, Loire, Mayenne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Nord, Orne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Pyrénées-Orientales, Rhône, Territoire-de-Belfort, Val-de-Marne, Val-d'Oise, Vaucluse and Vosges.

Water use is subject to high levels of restriction even for agricultural purposes in affected areas, while watering gardens, golf courses and washing cars is also subject to stricter rules than under a yellow alert. Some specific bans - on filling swimming pools, for example - may be added to each decree.

A total 20 departments have yellow alert zones. There are some restrictions on water use for both professional and personal reasons. Affected departments are the Ardennes, Aube, Bas-Rhin, Calvados, Corrèze, Drôme, Essonne, Haute-Marne, Haute-Savoie, Haut-Rhin, Jura, Landes, Lozère, Marne, Meuse, Moselle, Pas-de-Calais, Savoie, Seine-Maritime and Yvelines.

Water use is subject to certain restrictions even for agricultural purposes in affected areas, while watering plants or gardens, golf courses and washing cars may be banned at certain times.

Finally, 10 departments - Alpes-Maritimes, Corse-du-Sud, Haute-Corse, Hautes-Alpes, Hauts-de-Seine, Manche, Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis, Somme and Var - are on grey 'vigilance' alert. No legally enforceable restrictions are in place here, but everyone is encouraged to save water where possible.

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