Drought alerts and hosepipe bans in force in south and west France

Twelve departments have been placed on ‘critical’ level - the highest of France’s drought alerts - meaning water use is strictly restricted to essential purposes 

18 August 2021

Drought warnings and restrictions on water usage have been imposed in departments across southern and western France. Pic: alvarobueno / Shutterstock

By Emma Morgan

August’s hot weather has not only caused forest fires in France’s south eastern departments of Var, Vaucluse and Aude, but has also brought several areas under drought warnings and water restrictions. 

Please be aware that restrictions can change and you should consult the website of your local prefecture for the latest information. 

Currently the following alerts are in place:

Vigilance localisée

‘Localised vigilance’ (vigilance localisée), the least serious of France’s drought alerts, applies to a particular area within a department. It means the situation is being monitored and individuals and businesses are made aware of the need to save water where possible. 

Areas currently under vigilance localisée are: 

  • Mayenne

  • Oise

  • Aveyron

  • Ain

  • Hautes-Alpes

Vigilance intégrale 

Cases of ‘widespread vigilance’ concern the whole department, with every resident and business being encouraged to save water. Areas currently affected are:

  • Morbihan

  • Creuse 

  • Puy-de-Dôme

  • Lozère 

  • Vaucluse 

  • Isère 

  • Drôme

  • Haute-Corse

Alerte localisée

Under a ‘localised drought alert’ (alerte localisée) specific areas of a department will come under restrictions, with farms urged to reduce their water consumption by up to 50%, and residents encouraged to limit their use of water for non-essential purposes. 

Departments where this measure currently applies include: 

  • Seine-et-Marne

  • Sarthe

  • Maine-et-Loire

  • Charente-Maritime 

  • Haute-Vienne

  • Landes

  • Lot

  • Rhône

  • Alpes-de-Haute-Provence

Alerte renforcée localisée

There are currently seven French departments under ‘high localised drought alert’ (alerte renforcée localisée). 

It means that people in certain areas should not use water for non-essential purposes such as washing their car or watering their garden. Some of these activities may also be officially prohibited to help conserve water. 

Farms must also reduce their water consumption by half or more. 

Departments currently under these restrictions are: 

  • Eure-et-Loir

  • Vienne

  • Deux-Sèvres

  • Charente

  • Pyrénées-Orientales

  • Hérault

  • Gard

Crise localisée

When water supplies in some areas are in a ‘critical condition’ (crise localisée), farms and residents in certain areas are forbidden from using water for unnecessary reasons, conserving it for drinking, cooking and washing only.

This measure is in force in the following departments: 

  • Loiret 

  • Loire-Atlantique

  • Vendée

  • Pyrénées-Atlantiques 

  • Gers

  • Tarn-et-Garonne

  • Haut-Garonne 

  • Tarn

  • Aude

  • Bouches-du-Rhône

  • Var

  • Alpes-Maritimes

For details of the drought alerts which apply to your area, you can also consult the government’s Propluvia website.

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