Disasters & Accidents

France faces drought of historic proportions

Paris, Jul 30 (EFE).- France faces an unprecedented drought with 93 of its 96 metropolitan departments on alert and serious damage to agriculture and restrictions in much of the country.

Only Paris, Hauts-de-Seine and Seine-Saint-Denis are not on alert, while 46 of the 93 affected areas are in a serious crisis of water shortages caused by the driest July in decades alongside several heat waves.

“We are going to have a dramatic situation,” Joël Limouzin, vice president of the National Federation of Agricultural Holding Unions, which represents 20,000 local agricultural unions and 12 regional federations, tells Efe.

The cereal harvest for fodder will be 30% lower and the losses for the agricultural and livestock sector will be greater if the situation does not improve, Limouzin adds.

Restrictions on irrigation and car washing became a reality in many parts of France and some towns are being supplied water by tankers.

The situation worsens by the day in France’s driest July “since 1959,” Anne Bringault, coordinator of the Action Climat, a union of associations against climate change, tells Efe.

Dry forest and crop conditions fueled the spread of recent wildfires.

“The damage is greater, we have mega-fires because the vegetation is very dry,” Bringault says.

Bringault suggests taking “preventative” actions, such as storing large amounts of water for the drier months, both for the population and for agricultural use.

The drought also has an impact on electricity generation, Bringault warns.

Besides the hydroelectric dams issues, some nuclear reactors have had to lower their production because the cooling water that they return to the rivers “has a higher temperature” than expected and can affect the ecosystem.

“Water is a more precious resource than we think,” Bringault stresses. EFE


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