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New record in France: 32 days without rain


It has never stayed dry in France for so many days at a time since records began. Some villages already get their drinking water from tankers. Stricter rules to save water should soon remedy the situation.

Enlarge image

A boat is aground on the edge of Lake Montbel in south-west France (pictured February 21)

Photo: Valentine Chapuis / AFP

France hit a new high on Wednesday with 32 straight days without rain.

This is the longest period of time without significant precipitation since measurements began in 1959, the French weather service said.  

Most recently, there were 31 rain-free days in a row in 2020, albeit a little later in the year.

In winter, when the groundwater level should rise again, the lack of rain is particularly threatening.

"Climate change means that water reserves in France are falling by 15 to 40 percent," Environment Minister Christophe Béchu told FranceInfo.

The minister called for more careful use of water.

"We have a culture of waste," Béchu said.

restrictions planned

Less than one percent of the water used is recycled in France, in Spain it is 20 times more.

In addition, about a fifth of the drinking water is lost through leaks - in some areas up to 70 percent of the drinking water was lost in this way.

Next Monday he wants to discuss possible restrictions with the prefects, which should apply from March, said the minister.

This is necessary "to prevent us from being in catastrophic situations towards the summer," he emphasized.

According to scientific findings, the increasing frequency and intensity of drought periods is a consequence of man-made climate change.

France had already suffered from a major drought last summer.

At times, even nuclear power plants were shut down last summer due to a lack of water.

The drought is now a permanent phenomenon in France: Since August 2021, with the exception of three months, less rain has fallen than has been the case so far on average.

Persistent periods of drought lead, among other things, to the groundwater level falling, drinking water becoming scarce in some areas and farmers having to fear lower harvests.

Water scarcity is already leading to bottlenecks and conflicts.

In the western French department of Landes, around a thousand farmers demonstrated on Tuesday to defend their claim to the previous amount of water and to demand the construction of reserve reservoirs.

Several villages in the Ardèche and Massif Central regions are already being supplied with drinking water by tanker.

In the Pyrenees, some reservoirs such as Montbel in Ariège are only 20 to 30 percent full, and the surroundings are reminiscent of a lunar landscape.

In Picardy, north of Paris, farmers worry about growing chicory lettuce and potatoes.

Environmentalists also criticize the use of snow cannons, which are used particularly intensively during the winter holidays and consume a lot of water.

The weather lets you breathe at least for a short time: According to the weather service, light rain is reported for Wednesday.


Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2023-02-22

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