“So we have an individual who, in the middle of the night and by breaking into us, sabotaged the jacuzzi.
Always with the same pseudo-ecological message which explains that the planet is in bad shape and that we have to wake up”, regrets Olivier Robert.
On August 4, a masked man enters the garden of his second home, a recent wooden chalet, perched on the heights of Gérardmer, in the heart of the Vosges massif (88).
This haven of greenery and biodiversity nestled in the south of Lorraine has been experiencing a period of exceptional drought for several weeks.
On August 3, faced with springs and an almost empty water table, the town hall was even forced to draw water directly from the lake to supply the city's taps.
During the 48 hours of tests conducted by the Regional Health Agency, this water was declared unfit for consumption.
The lake has already seen its height drop by about twenty centimeters, while it could be pumped for several more weeks, if the drought were to continue.
Read alsoDrought: in the Vosges, Gérardmer forced to pump water from his lake
“Water is made for drinking!
It is in this context of intense shortage that the attack on jacuzzis was perpetrated.
Hidden behind a turquoise scarf, the perpetrator sabotaged several hot tubs in an increasingly popular neighborhood.
“Always the same hole, the same principle, the same diameter, the same drill, the same bit.
There are still shavings, you see,” explains Olivier Robert, who observed the same damage in at least two of his direct neighbours.
The masked individual appears on several sequences captured by the video surveillance of the inhabitants visited.
If his identity is still unknown, his motivations are very clear.
"We have the same word that has been reproduced each time the jacuzzis have been sabotaged", recalls Olivier Robert.
On a small piece of paper placed on each pierced bath, a handwritten word written in capital letters enjoins these owners to change their habits: “Water is made for drinking!
You are massacring the Vosges... More seriously, the planet is in bad shape, wake up!”
"It's sad to come to such extremes to send messages," regrets the owner, who deplores a loss of nearly €15,000.
"Everyone has their own ideas, it's clear that today, with the drought, I can understand that there are sensitivities etc.
But what bothers me a little is that we stigmatize owners and equipment who are basically not responsible for what is happening at the moment”.
"We are in the middle, with the problem of water, in the conflict of use"
Olivier Robert denounces "a paradox", since he affirms that his jacuzzi and that of his neighbors were empty, in accordance with the municipal decree in force since the end of June, which prohibits the filling and the leveling of spas and swimming pools .
The mayor of the city Stessy Speissmann (DVG), "condemns everything that can be an act of violence, of degradation" and deplores "these inadmissible acts".
“It is the fact of people who, in my opinion, do not support this mixing in Gérardmer between tourists and locals”.
During high season, the population goes from 8,000 to 20,000 or 30,000 inhabitants, depending on the city councilor.
Drought: the Loire is so low that you can cross it on foot
A tourist peak sometimes perceived very negatively when resources are dangerously dwindling.
“We are in full, with the problem of water, in the conflict of use.
Some people locally believe that if this resource runs out, it must be prioritized for the inhabitants, ”said the mayor.
"Tourists are ''chicouf'', chic they arrive, phew they leave"
Questioned, several inhabitants of the town confirm this perception.
“I think the locals are fed up, especially with the noise already, and with the drought also afterwards”, slips Pauline.
Louisa* is employed in the tourism sector.
She herself has filled several spas with rental residences, despite the municipal decree.
“We still deprive ourselves of water, we, inhabitants of Gérardmer.
And we fill [their hot tubs] every weekend.
So it's ridiculous”.
She hopes that the town hall will carry out closer inspections to punish fraudsters: “We have to play the game because otherwise we won't get out of it”.
Brigitte, a retiree who also lives in the area, tries to calm things down: “And if they weren't there, what would we do?
We have very few factories so tourists are welcome.
They leave us money.
Tourists are “chief”, chic they arrive, phew they leave”.