Drought: six departments placed on early warning
The situation is increasingly critical. Drôme and Ardèche will partially go on drought alert, joining four other departments that have already taken extraordinarily early water restriction measures, the Minister for Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu, announced on Monday.
These two departments of the Rhone basin, where the exceptional deficit of winter rains after a scorching summer is particularly marked, join the Pyrénées-Orientales, almost entirely affected by restrictions, as well as, partially, Ain, Bouches-du-Rhône and the Var.
These water restrictions come after a winter that failed to replenish water tables, when the season is normally crucial for replenishing freshwater supplies. 80% of underground water tables in mainland France were at levels below normal in February, according to data from the Bureau of Geological and Mining Research (BRGM) revealed by the minister. Against less than 50% in February 2022.
12 departments at the end of the week?
Beyond these four departments placed on alert, five others went on Monday or will soon go into “vigilance”, a stage prior to water restrictions: Yvelines, Corrèze, Vaucluse, Sarthe and Alpes-Maritimes , which join Savoy.
“At the end of this week, we should be at 12 instead of 5 departments concerned by vigilance or alert measures, but the situation can obviously continue to move,” said Christophe Béchu, who took stock of the situation. after a meeting with all the prefectures of France. The Minister, who says he is “sounding the tocsin” in the face of the serious risk of water shortages in the summer, had called on February 27 the prefects to take measures to save water ” right now “.
The Minister and the Secretary of State for Ecology, Bérangère Couillard, urged the population to also save water. “There will be a communication on this subject from mid-April to remind the general public of the right gestures”, declared Christophe Béchu, recalling that a French person consumed an average of 149 liters of water per day. Another milestone is scheduled for March 15, after rain forecast by Météo France.