More than half of France threatened by summer drought – EURACTIV.com

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Before a summer which promises to be particularly dry and hot in Europe, the French Ministry for the Ecological Transition is mobilizing water stakeholders to anticipate shortages and avoid supply shortages. Report from EURACTIV’s partner, the Environmental Journal.

53 French departments are now threatened with summer drought according to the inventory published Thursday May 14 by the Ministry of Ecological Transition following a meeting of the National Water Committee.

Between May and September, the Rhône corridor is likely to be the most affected, ahead of the Grand Est, Bourgogne Franche-Comté, the Center Val-de-Loire and part of New Aquitaine. Overseas, Martinique and Guadeloupe are already subject to severe water shortages.

Risk “possible” to “very likely”

According to this map, based on a hydrological analysis carried out on April 22, using data from

French Meteorological Service Météo France, geological and mining research office (BRGM), biodiversity office (OFB), EDF and French navigation authority (VNF), the risk of drought is “very likely” for 11 departments (including the Grand Massif Central, Haute-Saône and Haut-Rhin), “probable” for 24 others (including Center-Val de Loire and Grand Est) and “possible” for the 18 others.
In particular, Météo France forecasts drier than normal weather over northwest Europe, including much of France, over the next three months.

Priority to drinking water

Secretary of State Emmanuelle Wargon wants to force departments to better prepare for the drought. A ministerial instruction is being prepared to harmonize restrictive measures on water use at the national level, most probably by setting activation thresholds based on the air pollution control model.

Better coordination, particularly between services, should make it possible “to take decisions more quickly so that the sharing of water uses takes place under the best possible conditions”, in the event of a shortage, “with priority given to drinking water supply, ”she said.

To avoid any risk of supply, the impacts of climate change must be taken into account in the drinking water component of the ORSEC plan, a generic plan for France in the event of a disaster when local resources prove insufficient.

Recurring episodes

Wargon also recalled that France has been affected by “regular droughts” in recent years. More recently, the summer of 2019 has been particularly dry, pushing 73 departments to impose a restricted use of water, while 13 departments, including Creuse, experienced an interruption in the supply of drinking water.

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