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More than 100 French towns without drinking water amid 'historic drought'

The fountains of Concorde plaza are empty in Paris, France, as Europe is under an extreme heat wave, Aug. 3, 2022.
The fountains of Concorde plaza are empty in Paris, France, as Europe is under an extreme heat wave, Aug. 3, 2022. Copyright AP Photo/Francois Mori, File
Copyright AP Photo/Francois Mori, File
By Lauren ChadwickAFP
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France's prime minister has created an emergency crisis cell to address the country's "worst ever drought".


More than 100 towns in France have no more drinking water and must receive deliveries by truck, France's ecological transition minister said while visiting the country's southeastern region.

"There are already more than a hundred municipalities in France that today have no more drinking water, and for which supplies are being transported by truck to these municipalities because there is nothing left in the pipes," said Christophe Béchu, while visiting the town of Roumoules.

Multiple European countries are experiencing historic drought conditions amid low precipitation and high temperatures made more likely due to climate change.

France's Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne activated an interministerial crisis cell on Friday to address the drought which her office said in a statement was the "worst ever recorded" in the country.

"The exceptional drought that we are currently experiencing is depriving many municipalities of water and is a tragedy for our farmers, our ecosystems and biodiversity," the statement said.

Borne called on the French to be "very vigilant about the use of our water resources."

Already, 66 French départements -- more than two-thirds of them -- are at the highest drought warning level of "crisis" with at least 93 départements at one of the top three levels of warning for drought.

The ecological transition minister Béchu said the challenge was to tighten up water restrictions to avoid getting to the point where there is no longer any water.

Already in areas at the crisis warning level, there are restrictions on watering golf courses, filling pools, watering gardens, and washing cars. Some areas are no longer allowed to have fountains running.

Capital city Paris has been placed on the first level of the alert system for drought with the city already taking measures to limit water usage, including watering parks only at night.

In the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s recent sixth assessment report, scientists said that human-caused climate change would contribute to the "increased likelihood and severity of the impact of droughts" in several regions.

Climate change will also impact the likelihood of other extreme weather events such as floods.

A recent report from the European Commission said that nearly half of the EU is exposed to warning levels of drought. This is likely to threaten agricultural production and crop yields in several countries.

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