The unusually arid winter may lead to an even drier summer, Source: Depositphotos

France declares water restrictions, for the first time in winter

France declares water restrictions, for the first time in winter

It’s been more than a month since the country has seen rainfall, something that sets alarms for the upcoming summer season

Christophe Bechu, the French Minister for Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion, has announced an unprecedented environmental measure by ordering the limitation to water usage in parts of the country starting from 1 March. The move was necessitated as France is currently undergoing its driest winter since 1959 with no rain in 32 days.

The water usage restrictions have never been announced by the authorities this early in the year before and they are now doing it in order to mitigate as best as they can a summer, which could be potentially worse than that of 2022.

Dry winter, dire summer

The unusually warm and dry winter has affected a large part of Europe and not only France. Apparently, the month of January was deemed to be the third warmest on record. There are already visible impacts, such as semi-full water reservoirs in Spain and gondolas stuck in the mud in Venice.

As a matter of fact, watering and irrigation have already been restricted in 87 French municipalities in the south of the country, however, it may not be enough.

Minister Bechu did not spell out the possible measures but said they would be 'soft' ones and would be taken on a case-by-case basis when needed in a specific area to avoid having to take tougher, emergency measures closer to the summer.

As an example, filling swimming pools could be restricted in some territories, according to Daily Mail.

Hydro stocks are low in France compared to last year, the second lowest over ten years, and the quantity of snow in the Alps is also low in comparison with 2022, which was already a particularly dry year.

What this means is that French electricity production from hydropower will also be threatened if the rain does not return in the following three months.



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