Water restrictions in 84 departments
Ministers consider proposals to conserve water as drought continues
Drought orders restricting the use of water now extend to 84 departments across France, up from just 13 at the end of May, according to official figures.
Across the affected departments, there are now 209 local orders in place limiting water use. Thirty have banned 'non-priority use' of water - such as watering gardens or washing cars.
There are four alert levels: ‘Vigilance’ - asking users to save water where they can; ‘Alert’ - a ban on garden sprinklers and watering, and on refilling swimming pools; ‘Reinforced Alert’ - An extra ban on further activities such as car washing; and ‘Crisis’ - A ban on the non-essential use of water.
The full list of affected departments can be found on government website Propluvia, which is managed by the ministry of environment and agriculture. A map displays the alerts as grey, yellow, orange and red.
You can also check your department’s level at your local Mairie, where posters are on display. The alert level is also likely to be published in your local newspaper.
The agriculture ministry has also submitted to cabinet 'a policy of sustainable water management to ease situations of water shortage' - which seeks to encourage individuals and businesses to save water where possible and local councils to improve maintenance of the water supply network to reduce leaks in the 850,000km of pipelines across the country.
Ministers are also considering 'where necessary and sustainable' projects to store more water in winter.
Recent summer rain - with more forecast in the coming days - has helped farmers and gardeners, but will do little to raise the low water table, Météo Consult forecaster Cyrille Duchesne told Le Monde.
The last two winters in France have been much drier than usual, meaning the water table was up to 40% lower than average at the start of the summer.