President Macron and town officials checking a reservoir in southern France, Source: Emmanuel Macron Facebook

France readies for water sobriety after its energy sobriety

France readies for water sobriety after its energy sobriety

President Macron has unveiled a water-conservation plan in view of a possibly arid summer ahead

The French government headed by President Emmanuel Macron has published a water conservation plan consisting of 53 measures with a view to ensuring maximum water conservation ahead of what is feared to be a very dry summer.

The objective of the plan is to reduce water consumption by 10% by 2030 in all sectors, including households. For this purpose, the authorities aim to introduce progressive pricing – or the more you consume, the more you pay.

Droughts in southern France had already started well ahead of schedule this year and this does not bode well for the summer when traditionally water resources are more scarce. The government plan has been dubbed the “water sobriety” plan drawing parallels to last year’s concerns about fuel shortages and energy prices, which called for “energy sobriety” measures, such as turning off urban lights early.

The warm winter made energy poverty less of a concern but the balmy weather turned out to be a double-edged sword since it also deplenished water reservoirs from the precious moisture. This can prove challenging for anyone from urban residents living in heat-absorbing cities to farmers seeing their crops wither in the sun.

A new app will inform people about water levels

Macron also announced an emergency fund of 180 million euros to fix leaks and upgrade networks in the most at-risk towns. Nuclear power stations, one of France’s biggest consumers of water, will also see an investment programme to allow them to adapt their cooling systems to current conditions.

The 10% figure goes for the planned re-usage of wastewater as well. According to Euronews, the French President explained that this would mean the size of 3 Olympic swimming pools per commune.

Another parallel to the energy sobriety measures from last year will also be the creation of a new app, which will inform residents if water usage has reached critical levels in their area. The Ecowatt app, in comparison, “forecasts” energy usage and warns users to turn off appliances and lights in case there’s an overload in energy consumption.



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