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

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”.

Drought in France: One third of the country is now in a
Drought hits sunflower fields in France. Photo credit: AFP

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


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Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Across south west France trapping campaigns have begun in an attempt to control the numbers of dangerous Asian hornets.

Massive hornet-trapping campaign begins in south west France

Trapping campaigns are organised annually at this time of year, as the weather begins to get warmer and queens begin to emerge from hibernation.

And the Charente-Maritime town of Royan Atlantique, on France’s west coast, is leading the way, as the below video shows.

Experts say that now is the time to begin using the traps, as catching queen hornets in the process of building their nests will lead to far fewer insects later in the year. 

Some 2,000 traps are installed in and around Royan this year, including 300 that were distributed to householders in the week of Valentine’s Day. 

Once installed, the traps can capture several dozen insects at a time.

In order to capture a maximum of hornet queens, traps should be installed between mid-February and mid-May. Especially since during this period, these predators end up coming out of their hibernation.

It is believed Asian hornets arrived in France around 2004. They have now spread nationwide.

Although their venom is not more powerful than that of normal bees or wasps, they are known to be more aggressive towards humans, and their stings can cause anaphylactic shock in allergic people.

The hornets also damage beehives and kill bees, damaging honey stocks and destroying the native ecosystem.