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Residents in French town donate pool water for parched green spaces

Local authorities hit upon the idea after a resident offered their used pool water to help keep communal areas green in drought conditions

A photo of three jets filling up a jacuzzi

Used water from pools and jacuzzis has become a precious resource in one French town to help its new trees and communal areas survive in the drought conditions Pic: pixinoo / Shutterstock

People with pools or jacuzzis in a French commune are donating used water to their commune to help maintain communal green spaces as drought conditions and water restrictions continue.

The idea emerged after the owner of a pool spontaneously decided to give his used pool water to the commune authorities rather than dispose of it, as he was changing the water. 

This prompted authorities in Bourg-Lès-Valence in Drôme (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) to ask if anyone else in the area would be happy to do the same to help support the local green areas.

The initiative worked and around 20 households have donated water.

Local resident Kodji Kian, who has a jacuzzi, told France 3: “I found the idea of collecting water from my hot tub interesting. Even a small amount of water can be used instead of going down the drain.”

It comes after the watering of communal green areas was banned over the summer due to the drought. This included a park in the centre of town, which had 3,000 trees planted in it.

These trees had been suffering in the heat, and some were dying. The grass was also completely parched.

David Wolf, director of green spaces in Bourg-Lès-Valence, said: “Out of our 3,000 young plantations, 150 to 200 are suffering. [but] the first two years are the most important. Mortality is at 50%.”

Residents have responded well to the appeal for water. One said that they were planning to clean out and refill their jacuzzi, while another said that their pool water had turned green due to a problem with the filtration system that had not yet been fixed.

Edmond, owner of a pool, said: “This water would have just been thrown down the drain. It’s better to use it for the trees. It’s only a small gesture, but it may be helpful.”

Local authorities are now set to begin pumping the donated water to collect it and will check its cleanliness and suitability before use.

Lionel Cafassi, water technician, said: “We do a prior check of the water and its chlorine levels. After a week, [the chlorine] will evaporate and the water will become usable for watering, which is not necessarily the case for pool water treated with salt.”

Marlène Mourier, mayor of Bourg-Lès-Valence, said that she had been surprised by the residents’ response. She said: “Since the start of this campaign, many citizens have become involved.

“We know that we must not waste water. We are working on a project that will also help us using rainwater collectors.”

The trees in the communal gardens are now being regularly watered thanks to the donations from households. One 500-litre jacuzzi can provide enough water for five trees.

It comes as much of France has suffered significant drought conditions and water restrictions over the summer.

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