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Water restrictions in France: where and what changes

July was the driest month for 60 years in France, which has led to restrictions on water usage being announced in 68 departments.

Between July 1 - 28, the average rainfall in France was 28% of the normal amount for this period, figures from French national meteorological service Météo France show. This shortage particularly affected regions in the southwest of the country and in the Loire Valley. 

Overall, it has been the driest July since 1959. 

Due to this, water restrictions have been imposed on 68 departments across the country.

There are four categories of restrictions, depending on the severity of the drought in the region. There is, ‘vigilance’ (grey), ‘alerte’ (yellow), ‘alerte renforcé’ (orange) and ‘crise’ (red). 



At this level, there are some agricultural and industrial restrictions. In terms of domestic restrictions, individuals and professionals are encouraged to try to save water, and there may be restrictions on when people can water their plants or vegetable patches, depending on local authorities. 

It is still possible to wash your car, however filling a swimming pool is forbidden.

Alerte and alerte renforcé

These measures are stricter. Aside from the agricultural and industrial restrictions, there will be tighter restrictions on when you can water your garden or vegetable patches, and restrictions on watering golf courses There will also now be additional restrictions on washing cars. 

When a department reaches the orange level, limitations on these activities will be increased until they are completely forbidden, if necessary. 


The government website that manages water restrictions states that, “only withdrawals for priority uses are authorised (health, civil security, drinking water, safety)."

At this level, washing cars, watering plants, lawns or crops etc will be forbidden. 

At all levels it will still be possible to take a shower, have cups of coffee or boil water for cooking, although the government is encouraging people to shower responsibly and to install water-saving devices in their homes. 

The drought in France is expected to continue, with a new heatwave expected by the end of this week (August 7). 

For more information on the water restrictions in your area you can look at the government website here, or check with your local mayor.

Read more about the heatwave in France:

France: Heat and storm alerts remain as more hot weather due

Heatwaves and coronavirus: France issues warning

The best plants to grow in France to deter mosquitoes

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