The subject of water, or rather the lack of it, has become a major issue in France, where the dry winter and falling levels of water tables across much of the country are heightening fears of an impending record summer drought. A government-commissioned report published this month underlined that in the summer of 2022 “the worst” was narrowly avoided, and called for a “radical change in practices” in water management. But, as Floriane Louison reports, a “Water Plan” recently announced by President Emmanuel Macron is under fire for failing to properly address the practices aggravating the diminution of the precious resource.
The French government is considering introducing restrictions on water consumption as of March after the country recorded 32 continuous days, beginning on January 21st, without rainfall exceeding an average 1 millimetre, the driest period on mainland France since records began in 1959.
Low winter rainfall followed by continuing dry and unusually hot conditions in many parts of France, the biggest grain producer in the European Union, is threatening to significantly reduce the volume of winter cereal production.
As France sizzles this weekend under an extreme heatwave, data shows that July this year saw the lowest rainfall in the country since that of 1959, and the scorched land is witnessing a severe drought that is now threatening the future of many farmers. In face of what has become a recurrent problem over recent years, some agronomists are calling for urgent and radical changes to conventional agricultural practices. Amélie Poinssot reports.