Drought 2023: already restrictions, what to expect this summer?

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.

  Drought 2023: already restrictions, what should we do?'attendre cet été ?

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.

What are the reasons for drought?

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.

What is the forecast for summer 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.

Which departments are affected by the water restrictions?

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.

What are the different drought alert levels and their restrictions?

Water restrictions apply depending on the drought alert level:

  • Vigilance (level 1) : individuals and professionals concerned by a department in vigilance are invited to save water.
  • Alert (level 2) : this level implies the reduction of withdrawals for agricultural purposes, the prohibition of valve operation and nautical activities. For individuals, washing their car or watering their garden and green spaces is prohibited between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Heightened alert (level 3) : this second level retains the reduction of withdrawals for agricultural purposes and the prohibition of valve operation and nautical activities. car washing, watering gardens, green spaces and golf courses are very limited or even prohibited.
  • Crisis (level 4) : this last level provides for the cessation of non-priority direct debits. Only samples concerning health, civil security, drinking water and sanitation are authorized. Concretely, individuals are prohibited from watering their garden between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., filling their swimming pool, cleaning their vehicle, facades, walls, roofs and terraces or leveling a body of water.

The 2023 map of water restrictions and drought in France

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.

Map of departments affected by water restrictions

How do you know if your municipality is affected by water restrictions?

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.

What are the right things to do to save water?

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:

  • favor the showers ,
  • limit the watering of the gardens,
  • installing energy-saving sanitary equipment,
  • use the washing machines once full,
  • collect rainwater for reuse.

In case of drought, will you be able to water your garden?

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:

  • In case of vigilance level: you must avoid watering your garden between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • In the event of an alert: it is forbidden to water your garden between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
  • In the event of a heightened alert or crisis: it is forbidden to water your garden or lawn.

Note that only the vegetable gardens can continue to be watered between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.

In case of water restrictions, can you use water from your well?

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.

Source journaldesfemmes.fr