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Drought: French city to give water-saving shower heads to residents

The devices will be distributed for free and can save up to 40% of water, say authorities

A view of a chrome shower head running water

The water-saving shower heads can save up to 40% compared to a typical shower Pic: Tero Vesalainen / Shutterstock

New water-saving shower heads are to be distributed for free to residents in Dijon (Côte-d'Or, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté) next spring.

Residents will be encouraged to install them on all of their showers.

The devices can save up to 40% of water during a typical shower compared to a non-saving shower head,” said Antoine Hoareau, vice president and water manager of Dijon Métropole. 

It comes amid concerns about the ongoing drought and fears over the wastage of an increasingly precious resource.

"There are lots of little tools and techniques you can use to save water, such as adding air to the water,” Mr Hoareau told France Bleu Bourgogne. “You get the impression that the tap is running as before, when in reality you can reduce the flow rate at the shower tap by 30 to 40%.”

The campaign will be run by Odivea, the water authority for the Dijon area, he said. “This will enable us to go right inside flats and houses to reduce the amount of water used in the home,” he added.

It is not yet clear how the shower heads will be distributed; for example, if they will be posted to people’s homes, or if residents will be required to collect them from somewhere.

However, Mr Hoareau did confirm that all residents would receive one for free.

Currently, Côte-d'Or is still facing restrictions on water use due to drought. Eleven areas in the department are ‘in crisis’ or ‘on heightened alert’ for lack of water,’ the prefecture said in a statement on August 26.

Dijon is not the first area to announce plans to offer water-saving devices to residents. In April this year, authorities in Bédarieux (Hérault) did the same thing in its rural commune.

Read more: Drought-hit French commune gives locals free water-saving devices 

Clément Dolques, the managing agent for water in the 5,736-inhabitant town, distributed 220 free devices to residents. These enabled people to reduce water flow through three ordinary taps and one shower.

Local mayor Francis Barsse said at the time: “I appeal to everyone's common sense to reduce their water consumption to the strict minimum so as not to suffer drastic measures in the coming months.”

He said that the commune feared that its drinking water supply would dry up.

Water use restrictions have been in place in France since March this year due to growing fears of worsening drought although there has been criticism that many came in too late.

Read more: Water restrictions not used effectively during France’s drought

In July, a new website was launched to enable residents in France to find up-to-date information on drought levels and water restrictions in their local area.

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