Water restrictions imposed in southeast France due to drought alert

17 communes are concerned due to the twin issue of high temperatures and low rainfall in 2022

Water restrictions include a ban on people washing their vehicles at home
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The department of Bouches-du-Rhône in southeast France is on high drought alert, with 17 communes especially affected. Households and businesses must now abide by restrictions.

The prefecture confirmed the alert in a statement on February 9. It said that the alert was necessary because “the year 2022 was marked by high temperatures” and also a “33% deficit in rainfall”.

It said: “In view of the situation of the hydrographic sectors of the upstream and downstream Huveaune, and the meteorological situation of the department, the prefect of the Bouches-du-Rhône has taken out a decree to pass into a state of drought vigilance on the department.”

In the 17 communes under the alert, residents must “apply economic use of water and respect the water restriction measures in place”.

For example, individual households may not:

  • Water their garden between the hours of 09:00 and 19:00
  • Wash their vehicles at home

Businesses are not allowed to wash the front of their commercial buildings. Sports fields may not be watered between 09:00 and 19:00.

Farmers in the department are also banned from watering their fields during the hours of 08:00 and 20:00.

The full list of communes affected in Bouches-du-Rhône is:

Auriol, Belcodène, Cadolive, La Bouilladisse, La Destrousse, Peypin, Roquevaire, Saint-Savournin, Allauch, Aubagne, Carnoux-en-Provence, Gémenos, Mimet, Plan-de-Cuques, La Penne-sur-Huveaune and Roquefort-la-Bédoule.

The 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th arrondissements in Marseille are also included.

It comes after an expert warned in early January that 2023 was set to be a “very dry year”, even in the winter months, after many areas suffered from heatwaves and drought conditions in 2022.

The vice president of France Nature Environnement, Jean-David Abel, said: “It’s not possible to continue using water, either for farming or domestic uses, independently of resources that remain in nature.”

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