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France again facing drought


INFOGRAPHIC - While the years 2018 and 2019 were marked by the lack of water, 72 departments are on alert this summer.

Meadows that become the "mats" , the lakes which are reduced to a few large puddles, and even river fish that must move. While a new wave of heat wave has settled in France, the drought is growing. In total, 72 departments are on alert, according to the official Propluvia website, while 146 prefectural decrees enjoin or encourage water savings.

Read also: Is the repetition of 40 ° C in France a testimony to global warming?

"It's a drought that started in the spring in some regions, especially those in the North and East ," explains Cyrille Duchesne, meteorologist at La Chaîne Météo (a Figaro Group company). It really got worse in July, when it hardly rained: we have a rainfall deficit of 77% on average in France for this month of July. For example, we had only 3 mm of rain in Bordeaux or Troy, 9 mm in Paris, whereas normally we have 60 mm! " Three quarters of France are therefore in water restriction. “Last year, it was more than 80 departments, but we are still only halfway through the summer…” recalls Cyrille Duchesne.

"Rescue fishing"

“The current drought is a meteorological drought on the one hand, that is to say a strong deficit of precipitation, but also an agricultural drought, with strongly dry soils combined with a temperature higher than normal since April, comments forecaster Étienne Kapikian on Météo-France's Twitter account. July was the driest summer in the past sixty years. ” So much so that in the Vosges, for example, to save fish from certain death where the Savieuse river dries up, “rescue fishing” is linked.

This practice, which consists of moving the fish to places still afloat, becomes annual, "whereas before we intervened once every three or four years" , alert, to AFP, Serge Philemon, president of the Departmental fishing federation of the Territoire de Belfort. In the 27 departments where at least one watercourse is in a crisis situation, only withdrawals for priority uses are authorized (health, civil security, drinking water). Nineteen other departments are on the alert: withdrawals for agricultural purposes are limited there, as are those for watering gardens and green spaces.

Before, we had exceptional droughts. We could cope. But, since 2015, it's almost every year

Pierre Rozier, breeder of Charolais cows in Saône-et-Loire

Like 2019, like 2018, like 2015… 2020 is synonymous with drought, rant the farmers. While the decree recognizing the state of natural disaster after the lack of water last year has just been released! “Before, we had exceptional droughts. We could cope. But since 2015, it has been almost every year, ” laments Pierre Rozier, breeder of Charolais cows in Saône-et-Loire.

The drought has become so regular that it now threatens the sustainability of the meadows ... and livestock. The Ministry of Agriculture has therefore just authorized the use of fallow land for breeders in 47 departments affected by the drought. Minister Julien Denormandie also announced last week that he wanted to "simplify the procedures a bit" for building water reservoirs, in order to allow farmers to cope with repeated droughts.

Fire risks

Hydrogeologist at the national geological service, BRGM, Violaine Bault brings "an optimistic note" . “We had a very, very good winter, with several rainfall episodes, ” she observes. So the water tables, whose level was very low last year, have recharged well. It is above average, except in the Alsace plain, in the Rhône-Saône corridor and in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, where the rains this winter were not enough. ”

To read also: What is the heat record of your department?

If the situation is not alarming in the basement, "we are in a period of maximum risk for fires, however alert Cyrille Duchesne. With the heat wave, the very parched vegetation, three quarters of the country are exposed to it. We must not forget the risk associated with lightning, with the very frequent thunderstorms expected from Wednesday ” . The summer 2020 have also warned firefighters, is that "all hazards" .

Source: lefigaro

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