More water restrictions in place as drought grips
Storms not enough to ease water worries as tighter restrictions put in place in many departments
Despite rainstorms that have swept France in recent weeks, the country is in the grip of a drought that has already seen 85 departments impose water usage restrictions and many have had to be tightened.
Short bouts of rain have not been enough to recharge the aquifers and reservoirs and nearly three-quarters of the aquifers are short of water.
Departments including Dordogne, Landes, Allier and Ariège have reinforced water usage restrictions this week as smaller rivers run low due to lack of rain.
Tight restrictions were enforced last week but this week the water management committee in Dordogne, Nouvelle Aquitaine, decided to reinforce these.
The prefecture said that while “precipitation in June and early July has maintained favourable soil moisture levels up to now, the rainfall situation in August is now in deficit”.
Despite local storms, “the northern part of department has a precipitation deficit of 10%, the southeastern part 60%”. While there were no major problems for large rivers, “the situation in the smaller catchments is more delicate and several rivers have crossed new restriction thresholds this week”.
Taking water has been banned in 19 Dordogne watercourses and residents are reminded to be economical with water use, whether private or professional.
Details of measures in place to limit water withdrawals can be consulted in town halls, the DDT (Direction Départementale des Territoires), the prefecture website and on the site of Propluvia, the specialist online drought portal.
Elsewhere, in Landes (Nouvelle-Aquitaine), all removal of water from the River Midou is now prohibited. This applies not only to farmers, but also to individuals who may be tempted to use the water from the river to water their garden or wash their car. This ban begins today at 14.00 and affects 15 communes in an area between Mont de Marsan and the Gers: Arthez d’Armagnac, Bougue, Bourdalat, Gaillac, Labastide d’Armagnac, Lacquy, Laglorieuse, Le Freche, Mazerolles, Montegut , Saint Cricq Villeneuve, Sainte Foy, Saint Justin, and Villeneuve de Marsan.
In Allier (Auvergne) the prefecture has reinforced measures to limit water use on the Cher, Bouble and Boublon, Oeil-Aumance and Sichon basins. Details of the restrictions are posted in mairies and can also be viewed in the prefecture website.
Similarly, a new set of measures came into force on Wednesday in Haute-Garonne, where the prefecture said “the drying up of rivers has resumed, after a lull due to a few thunderstorms”.
Tighter restrictions were put in place on the Hers-Vif and Ariège while new ones were put in place on the Girou, the Ger and the Job.
In Ariège, washing vehicles is forbidden except at car washes although there are exceptions for sanitary, food and public safety service vehicles. Filling private swimming pools and watering lawns is also prohibited, but the watering of vegetable gardens is allowed at night, between 20.00 and 8:00.
Readers are advised to see their local mairie or prefecture website for water restrictions in their area.