Drought: Cut water use, Dordogne householders urged

Water pouring out of a hosepipe nozzle

Department one of 22 across France that has issued a 'red' water restriction decree

Residents and holidaymakers in the Dordogne have been urged to be careful with their use of water, after authorities issued a 'red' water restriction decree for agricultural use this week.

While the current decree - which takes effect from 8am on Friday, July 19 - does not include general water-use restrictions for households, prefect Frédéric Périssat warned that the situation could change rapidly, and called on individuals and communities to be 'civic-minded' by cutting down on filling swimming pools, washing cars or watering gardens.

The committee that monitors the drought situation in the Dordogne will now meet weekly rather than fortnightly, he said.

Details of the measures to limit water use can be found in the town halls concerned, on the website of Dordogne Préfecture, and on the government's Propluvia website.

The department is one of 67 in France to have water restrictions in place, and one of 22 that has issued a red 'crisis' decree - the highest level, which bans non-priority use. Where such decrees have been issued, water can only be used for drinking, sanitation and public health.

A total 125 restriction decrees are currently in force.

Propluvia map indicating the highest drought alert levels by department

In particular, the Dordogne decree bans farmers using water for anything other than allowing their livestock to drink from the following rivers in the department: Belle, Beauronne de Chancelade, Cern, Céou upstream and downstream, Enéa, Germaine, Melve, Lizabel, Seignal, Tournefeuille, Couze/Couzeau, Caudeau/Louyre, Estrop, Lidoire, Gardonnette, Conne, Dropt upstream and Banège.

Less severe restrictions are also in place along these water courses: Tardoire,Sauvanie, Vern, Chironde/Coly, Nauze, Eyraud and Dordogne downstream; Bandiat, Boulou, Crempse, Beune, Borrèze and Bournègue.

France has four levels of drought alert.

Level one (grey) urges the public to consider their water use and urges them to cut down where possible.

A level two (yellow) 'alert' cuts the amount of water farmers can use by 50% and prohibits activities such as watering gardens, green spaces, golf courses, washing cars between 10h and 20h daily.

A level three (orange) 'enhanced alert' imposes more stringent limits on farmers and prohibits watering gardens, green spaces, golf courses or car washing.

Level four - the highest level - is the red 'crisis' alert and bans all non-priority uses, including agriculture. Where these decrees have been issued, water can only be used for drinking, sanitation and public health.

Some municipalities may also issue their own water consumption restrictions.

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