After a last summer particularly affected by drought, the year 2023 promises to be just as difficult for the moment. The lack of winter rain is already being felt and some departments are even affected by restrictions. What is the situation to date? How's the summer going? How to save water? Explanations.
Last year, France had its hottest year on record and the drought was particularly severe with almost the entire country affected by a drought warning or alert. Will the scenario repeat itself in 2023? After a particularly dry winter and a record number of days without rain , most of France remains affected by the lack of water with groundwater at very low levels . The future situation is therefore worrying and restrictive measures could already be put in place from March. Christophe Béchu, Minister of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion indicates that 'France is on alert' . A 'large body of water' should be presented soon.
France knows its driest winter since 1959 with a sad record of the longest drought ever recorded, i.e. 32 days without real rain. Nearly 70% of the water tables are now showing a significant deficit two months late in terms of filling. The next few months are therefore very important and will determine the extent of the summer drought. Without substantial rain, the water reserves will not be sufficient.
Last year, a rain deficit in winter and spring, early heat waves and then a heat wave had particularly put a strain on the territory.
32 consecutive days without rain* across France. The longest series since 1959, ahead of that from 03/17/2020 to 04/16/2020 (31 consecutive days).
This series should not continue, precipitation today.
*cumulative aggregate rainfall < 1 mm. https://t.co/nXZQo0SI0E pic.twitter.com/nuD7tyESTj
— Meteo-France (@meteofrance) February 22, 2023
Most of France could be hit by drought this summer if the month of March is not rainy enough to recharge the water tables. The departments will then have to take restrictive measures, more or less important, to preserve the quantities of water. As was already the case last year, it could be banned to water his garden or fill his pool and it could also be asked to reduce domestic water consumption for the dishes or the shower.
Meteorologists currently predict an anticyclone with dry weather over most of the territory. The month of April should also be dry while the month of May will be more unstable.
In 2023, we already have four departments placed on heightened alert (the level just before the 'crisis'). These are Isère, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône and Pyrénées-Orientales. Some municipalities must already be supplied by tank trucks. Savoie is affected by the alertness level .
The government plans to put in place light restrictions from March to anticipate the coming drought and avoid a catastrophic situation in the summer.
#Drought | The prefects can take measures to limit or suspend non-priority water uses.— Government (@gouvernementFR) February 21, 2023
All of the information https://t.co/k4zwpqsqFY
Water restrictions apply depending on the drought alert level:
Since 2011, it is possible to find all the drought decrees on the site Propluvia proposed by the Ministry of Ecological Transition. The information tool offers in particular a map interactive which allows you to visualize at a glance the drought alert level of your region or your department in real time.
To find out if your municipality is affected by water restrictions, you can go to the Propluvia website and you will find the various decrees in progress there. You should know that many restrictions do not apply to the whole department but to a localized part.
Even before restrictions are put in place, the government encourages each citizen to control their daily consumption and save water with simple gestures . The Ministry of Ecological Transition and Territorial Cohesion recommends:
Individuals are more or less affected by water restrictions depending on the level of drought alert that concerns the dwelling. Depending on the situation, it may be forbidden to water the garden:
Note that only the vegetable gardens can continue to be watered between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Know that even if you have a well or a borehole, you remain subject to the same water restrictions as the rest of your municipality because these installations draw water from the surface water tables. Water abstraction therefore has an impact on water levels and you should consult the town halls and orders applicable locally to determine whether or not you can use your well water for irrigation.