More drought restrictions in force across France

Water pouring out of a hosepipe nozzle

UPDATE (16/07/2019): A total of 61 departments are now affected and 118 water restriction decrees have been issued.

Water restrictions are in place in 55 departments across France, and “crisis” levels have been reached in areas of 20 departments.

Local authorities have issued a total of 106 water restriction decrees.

"Crisis level" means that - in particular, very localised, areas - water use is only allowed for drinking, sanitation and public health.

To be certain of any water restrictions in your area, check current prefectoral decrees on the website Propluvia, an online tool created by the minister for Ecology.

The map below shows the highest level of drought alert issued in each department. This does not necessarily mean that such restrictions are imposed department-wide.

Propluvia's latest map indicating the highest drought alert levels by department

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.

The latest drought warnings come exactly one month after violent hailstorms battered the Drôme department. Some 50,000 insurance claims, totalling an estimated €250million have been filed, for damage caused by the storms.

France regularly sees some form of water restrictions in summer months, but experts say this year that water levels in France are unusually low this year.

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