Water restriction levels reach crisis point in France

Car washing at home is just one of the individual restrictions in place in certain departments

Water restrictions are in place in at least 41 departments across France, with at least 17 areas said to have reached “crisis” point.

The situation has worsened since restrictions were increased in the Vendée and Isère over the weekend, with 41 mainland departments now affected by similar measures, according to government water monitoring site, Propluvia.

“Crisis level” has been reached in 17 departments meaning that water use and use of water points is only allowed for priority users with primary authority to use them.

The map of France showing water restriction levels from the Propluvia website

There are three levels of water restriction in France - level 1, strong alert, and crisis.

A statement from authorities in the Vendée said: “Over the past few days, the department has faced very high temperatures and no significant precipitation has been seen.”

It invited all residents and water users to “act to limit their consumption”. From Saturday (July 6), all use of water has been forbidden or heavily restricted for farmers, factories, and - in some cases - individuals.

The Loire-Atlantique department also announced restrictions this weekend, especially towards activities such as filling up of swimming pools; cleaning of cars, buildings, terraces or streets; and the running of fountains, or beach showers.

Isère has also placed certain areas of water, Quatre Vallées Bas Dauphiné and Est Lyonnais, on various levels of alert.

The alerts come as water table levels in France are found to be “unsatisfying” and “lower” than last year, according to reports.

On June 1, 59% of groundwater areas were found to be at “moderately low to low” levels.

This has been exacerbated by the hotter-than-normal summer so far. Public areas could continue to be affected in certain areas - especially south of Alsace, Bourgogne and the Rhône - where water levels have been measured as close to record lows for the summer months.

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