Drought in France: One third of the country is now in a "crisis situation"

The Local France
The Local France - [email protected]
Drought in France: One third of the country is now in a "crisis situation"
Drought hits sunflower fields in France. Photo credit: AFP

More than two thirds of France is still feeling the effects of a major drought, with 87 départments affected by water restrictions and 41 of them in “crisis situation”.


The French government has announced that almost all the central strip of the country (from Nantes to Dijon) is in “crisis alert” as well as parts of the southwest, near Toulouse.

This means that water can only be used for the most essential needs - such as drinking water, sanitary and public health usage. Agricultural usage, however, is prohibited under this alert. 

Map: Propluvia Ministère de la Transition Ecologique et Solidaire

France has four levels of drought alert. 

The first level asks the public to watch their water consumption. Level two cuts water usage for farming by 50 percent and prohibits activities such as watering gardens and golf courses, and washing cars. 

The level three alert or “enhanced alert” imposes limits higher than 50 percent on farming and prohibits activities such as watering gardens, green spaces, golf courses, and washing cars entirely. 

Level four, the highest alert level, bans agricultural activity in its entirety and bans all other non-priority uses, meaning water can only be used for drinking, sanitation, and public health uses. 

A government blog post said that the drought was most likely due to low levels of rain during the winter and spring and extremely hot summer months. 

If you are affected by the water restrictions, here are some useful tips to save water.

  • Limit your shower time and prioritise showers over baths
  • Install water-efficient toilets and faucets
  • Repair any leaks 
  • Only do full loads of laundry 
  • Try to re-use rain water

To find out what the restrictions are where you live, click here.

French vocab

La sécheresse - drought

Les restriction d’eau - water restrictions

Les mesures d'économie d'eau - Water saving measures  

Usages prioritaires - Priority usage




Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also