Drought: 100 French communes without constant source of drinking water

Almost 30,000 people are affected

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More than 100 communes in France are now without a constant source of drinking water as a result of the country’s ongoing drought, the Ecology Minister has said.

Christophe Béchu called for people to be alert “because many communes are affected by repeated or temporary cut-offs [of water]”, he said to France Inter yesterday (August 1).

“We have exceeded the threshold of 100 communes without drinking water,” he said. This equates to “just fewer than 30,000 people” in France. Last year 700 communes were affected.

Communes affected are having water brought in by lorry, or receiving bottled water.

He said that the worst hit regions were the Mediterranean and the Rhône and Saône valleys. This is a result of “last summer's drought, which left us with empty water tables” and “a lack of rain during the recharge period”, which is typically over the winter.

He added that the compounded effects of climate change were largely to blame for the situation and that the drought would not be fixed by a few days of rain.

He said: “Just because it’s raining, it doesn’t mean that we don't have a drought problem, just as lower temperatures don’t mean that climate change isn't happening.”

Improvement projects

However, the minister added that he hoped the situation would improve soon, with the imminent completion of “500 securitisation and network reconnection projects that the government launched last September”.

Mr Béchu also said that 62% of groundwater levels in France are now “under the norms for the season”, which was less than the 68% at the start of the season.

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