WATER restrictions have been imposed in two departments after it was found that 80% of aquifers across France were below normal levels after several years of belowaverage rainfall.
Last year was one of the driest on record and February rainfall was only a quarter of normal levels, leaving 80% of the water-storing aquifers in the Paris region, the Rhône and the south-west below normal. In all, 51% of the aquifers across the country are showing levels dropping, 26% are stable and only 24% are filling.
The departments of Essonne and Seine-et-Marne have put water restrictions in place, although these do not yet affect private households.
Signs of drought are already obvious in Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées and Météo France says that the start of the year has been the driest since 1959. It added that some rivers in Languedoc-Roussillon were already at summertime levels as they had had only 10mm of rain over the winter.
Forecasters from Meteonews are predicting a mild and dry spring followed by a hot and dry summer.