The Vendée département has declared a 'crisis' alert, which means that water is restricted to only essential use – drinking water, sanitation and public health usage, with even agricultural use restricted.
“In recent days, the Vendée department has faced very hot weather and no significant precipitation has been observed,” the prefecture told France Info, inviting every resident to “act to control their consumption”.
Map: Propluvia Ministère de la Transition Ecologique et Solidaire
The Loiret, Indre, Allier, Tarn, Lot and Loire-Atlantique départements have also declared a crisis alert while 34 other départements have imposed some form of water restriction.
France has four levels of drought alert.
Level one asks the public to consider their water consumption. Level two 'alert' cuts by 50 percent the among of water farmers can use and prohibits activities such as watering gardens, green spaces, golf courses, washing cars, etc at certain times of day.
Level three 'enhanced alert' imposes limits higher than 50 percent on farmers and prohibits watering gardens, green spaces, golf courses or car washing entirely.
Level four – the highest level – is the 'crisis' alert and bans all non-priority uses, including agriculture. This means water can only be used for drinking water, sanitation and public health uses.
France usually sees some form of water restrictions over the summer months, but experts say this year that water levels are unusually low for this early in the summer.