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IN PICS: See how Lake Annecy's water levels have dropped to lowest in 70 years

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IN PICS: See how Lake Annecy's water levels have dropped to lowest in 70 years
Photo: AFP
17:14 CEST+02:00
Lake Annecy is one of the most idyllic spots in France with holidaymakers flocking there throughout the year but there's a problem at the country's most popular lake... and it's all to do with the water dropping to its lowest level in 70 years.
Lake Annecy in the Haute-Savoie region of France is fed by mountain springs and known for its clean water. 
 
As a result, tourists flock there throughout the year to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and, weather permitting, to take a dip. 
 
But that might not be the case for much longer at least if the current situation lasts.  
 
At the moment, Lake Annecy has the lowest water levels ever seen, with some spots measuring just 20 cm of water compared to its normal level for this time of year of 80 cm. 
 
The water levels are at their lowest since 1947. 
 
In fact, according to a report in Europe 1, even by standing 200 meters away from the shore the water is only likely to reach most people's thighs and boats and pedalos are stranded on the sand. 
 
Photo: AFP
 
Photo: AFP
 
And experts believe that levels could fall even further, with some estimating another drop of 10 cm in the next few days. 
 
So, why is it happening?
 
Well, it seems there are two causes. 
 
The first is the hot summer temperatures seen this year and the second the absence of heavy rains in the alpine region. 
 
Photo: AFP
 
In the meantime, it's not only swimmers who are having to adapt to the new conditions but those who work on the lake too. 
 
"It's about 70 centimeters short of water in some areas, so we have to send the boats over 200 meters to get them going because the engines touch the bottom [of the lake]," Romain, who runs a boat rental company, told Europe 1. 
 
Photo: Screengrab/Le Dauphine
 
And scientists are concerned too. 
 
"It's not just Lake Annecy," said Gianluigi, a geographer from Switzerland. "All the alpine lakes are concerned, which is worrying, not only for the lakes themselves, but for the entire hydrological network that is linked to them."
 
According to the geographer, the problems with droughts of this type will become more and more common. 
 
"It is one of the markers of the global warming," he said.
 
To put it in context, even after the infamous heatwave of 2003, which killed 15,000 mostly elderly people across the country, the waters had not dropped so low. 
 
Photo: AFP
 
Photo: Video screengrab/Le Dauphine
 
But while some scientists and environmentalists are worried about what the wider implications of the lowering waters are, others have said the situation isn't all bad. 
 
Not everything is negative especially for the reed beds "which will be exposed and whose sediments will be regenerated, remineralized: the plants will be stimulated", environmentalist Damien Zanella told the French press.
 
But Zanella admits that the drought "is a disaster "for aquatic wildlife".
 
Photo: AFP
 
In the meantime, some residents of the alpine town are enjoying the situation. 
 
"We've never seen it like this in Annecy," said Julie, who has lived in Annecy her whole life. It's really nice because it means we have a beach in the middle of town. We've even been finding shells!"
 
Five French words to know
 
le chaleur - the heat
 
le niveau - the level
 
un lac - the lake
 
baisser - to lower/to decrease 
 
la sécheresse - dryness/drought
 
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