Should France ban private swimming pool use amid drought crisis?

An MP says the idea should not be ignored but only be used as a last resort in the combat against droughts

There are over three million private swimming pools in France, more than any other country in Europe
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An MP for the French Greens (Europe Écologie les Verts, EELV) has discussed the idea of banning private swimming pools as a drought-prevention measure, after a summer of crisis-level water shortages around much of the country.

Read more: Drought map update: See the French departments with water restrictions

Julien Bayou did not rule out the proposition in an interview with BFMTV yesterday (August 23).

"I'm not saying no to [the idea of the ban],” he said.

“I'm telling you that the challenge is to repair the effects of climate change, to mitigate its future effects, and to prepare the country.

"You understand that it is the absence of action that today means that we can no longer use water," he said, calling for a wide-ranging “adaptation plan".

He added that a ban on private swimming pools would only be a “last resort”.

There are over three million private swimming pools in France, the most of any country in Europe and the second most in the world after the US.

Read more: Pool taxes, auction deals: Four updates for property owners in France

Read more: How much value will a swimming pool add to my French house?

The majority of departments in mainland France are facing crisis-level drought conditions, with water restrictions of some extent in place everywhere.

Read more: French drought measures: How much water do household appliances use?

Read more: Vigilance, alert, crisis: what France’s four drought warnings mean

Credit: Ministère de l'Écologie /

How much water does a private swimming pool require?

There is a question over how much of a difference it would make if France banned the use of private swimming pools.

Nicolas Roche, professor at the University of Aix-Marseille and an expert in hydrology, said that the management of water must be done on a wider level.

“We have to think in terms of our water resources and our needs, and these vary from one country to another, from one department to another,” he told Nice Matin.

Joëlle Pulinx Challet, general secretary of la Fédération des professionnels de la piscine et du spa, said it would not be useful to ban private swimming pools.

“Private swimming pools represent only 0.12% of total water consumption in France,” she told La Dépêche du Midi.

“A swimming pool is never emptied.

“It consumes 15m3 of water per year, on average, which is equal to the amount of water needed to produce one kilo of beef.”

She said swimming pools can also be useful for firefighters, who can use the water to put out fires in a nearby area.

She added that it is better to teach people about the responsible use of pools, such as placing covers over them to avoid the water evaporating or to avoid jumping in them and splashing the water out the pools.

Alongside the discussions about private swimming pools, there has also been a recent debate around the use of private jets, which are considered to be major contributors to climate change because of the CO2 emissions they produce.

Read more: Calls for private jet ban in France to fight climate change

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