France warns of water cuts as drought persists

15th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, April 14 (AFP) - The French government on Thursday warned of possible cuts in drinking water supplies this summer in certain parts of the country if the unusually dry conditions seen over the past six months persist.

PARIS, April 14 (AFP) - The French government on Thursday warned of possible cuts in drinking water supplies this summer in certain parts of the country if the unusually dry conditions seen over the past six months persist.

Environment Minister Serge Lepeltier told a press conference that drought conditions were "very worrying", adding that if the dry weather continued, "we will be in a period of extreme drought" not seen in France in 30 years.

"In some departments, in particular (western) Deux-Sevres, there could be water supply cuts this summer," Lepeltier cautioned.

But his aides added: "This does not mean that taps would be cut off or that tanker trucks would bring water to towns like we saw in 1976."

Rainfall between October and February was half normal levels in areas of the north, west and southwest, the state meteorological office Meteo-France said. Parts of the south and southeast were also affected.

The most recent bulletin said the drought conditions "seem to have worsened as compared with the month of February".

The situation recalled the year 2003, when a long rainless period was followed by a lethal heatwave in July and August.

As a preventive measure, the government has ordered that water consumption be restricted in six central-western departments, including Deux-Sevres. Similar orders could be issued in 60 other mainland departments.

The measures call for restricted irrigation of land, and could, if need be, limit "non-priority" uses of water, like washing cars, watering plants and filling swimming pools.

Meteorologist Frederic Nathan told AFP that abundant rainfall was needed to "make up for the lack of rainfall in recent months".

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article