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Southern France braces for dry summer, drought pushes 10% of Europe into crisis mode

Last year was the hottest on record for France.
Last year was the hottest on record for France. Copyright Héloïse Urvoy
Copyright Héloïse Urvoy
By Héloïse Urvoy
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Parts of southern France are restricting water as 10% of Europe faces a crisis situation due to drought.


Almost a third of Europe is currently affected by drought, and 10% of the continent is already in a crisis situation, according to the European Drought Observatory.

This is very much the case in parts of southern France as 2022 was the country's hottest year on record. Around 68% of the country's groundwater levels are in deficit.

This year, parts of the Gard department triggered water restrictions as early as April because of the lack of rainfall. Other regions did the same the following month. 

"We've been very worried since the beginning of the year because we've had a rainfall deficit since September of around 40-50%," Sébastien Ferra, the departmental director for land and sea, told Euronews. "Despite the storms that we've had over the last three weeks, the situation is still worrying. 

"Today, the rain we're getting isn't recharging the rivers or the water tables." 

A dried-out waterway in southern France.Euronews

Residents from the affected areas are no longer allowed to fill up their swimming pools and must restrict the amount of water they use for their gardens. Agricultural irrigation is only permitted at night.

The mayor of one of the villages affected by the restrictions said the situation is not normal. 

"In the past, there have been major droughts. But now we realise that temperatures are getting higher and higher, that it's happening more and more often, and above all that water tables are dropping," Benoit Trichot, the mayor of Montclus in Gard, told Euronews. 

"That's the reality. And we feel that there's a real change to be made in the future." 

Montclus is not alone. Local authorities across Gard and France are preparing for this trend to continue beyond 2023.

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