Drought forces water restrictions until November across much of France

Residents of drought-hit departments in central and eastern France will have to face prolonged restrictions on their water usage until October 31st or even the end of November.

Drought forces water restrictions until November across much of France
Photo: AFP/Propluvia

France’s ongoing battle with drought means that 79 out of metropolitan France’s 95 departments will continue to have some form of water restriction in place during the month of October. 

Government agency Propluvia, which works closely with France’s Agriculture and Environment Ministry, published the findings as part of their latest drought map on Wednesday.

The departments in red – large swathes of central, southern and eastern France that were badly hit by suffocating temperatures and a lack of rain this summer – are all still undergoing a “water crisis”.

This means that water usage for agriculture, green spaces, golf courses, washing cars, filling swimming pools and for other non-essential purposes will continue to be banned until October 31st.

Crisis departments include Ain, Ardèche, Aude, Aveyron, Bas-Rhin, Bouches-du-Rhône, Cantal, Charente, Charente-Maritime, Cher, Côte-d'Or, Creuse, Deux-Sèvres, Dordogne, Lot, Lot-et-Garonne and Saône-et-Loire.

In Images: How drought has left its mark on much of France

In the case of the central department of Puy-de-Dôme, where the city of Clermont-Ferrand is located, water restrictions will be extended until November 30th as the region prepares for what Méteo France is forecasting to be a dry October.

Even departments coloured in orange have considerable water restrictions in place until the end of the October.

The ones in yellow also have moderate limitations until October 31st and the grey ones are being encouraged to save water.

Water usage limits and specifications are usually determined by individual préfectures, so if you live in France the best way to find out which ones apply to you is by contacting your town hall or visiting their website.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Snobs, beaches and drunks – 5 things this joke map teaches us about France

A popular joke 'map' of France has once again been widely shared on social media, sparking endless jokes at the expense of certain regions of France.

Snobs, beaches and drunks - 5 things this joke map teaches us about France
Image AFP/
But while the map – created by – is clearly intended to be comic, it teaches us some important points about France’s regional divides, local stereotypes and in-jokes.

Here are some of the key points.
1. Everyone hates Parisians
The map is purportedly France as seen through the eyes of Parisians, and contains a series of snobbish and rude generalisations about every part of France that is not maison (home) in the capital and its surroundings. The great majority of the country is labelled simply as paysans (peasants).
The general stereotype about Parisians is that they are snobs, rudely judging the rest of the country which they regard as backwards and full of ploucs (yokels) apart from small areas which make nice holiday destinations.
Like all sweeping generalisations, this is true of some people and very much not of others, but one of the few things that can unite people from all areas of France is how much they hate les parigots têtes de veaux (a colloquialism that very roughly translates as ‘asshole Parisians’)
2. Staycations rule
Even before Covid-related travel restrictions, holidaying within France was the norm for many French people.
As the map shows, Parisians regard the southern and western coastlines as simply plages (beaches) which they decamp to for at least a month in July or August. In the height of summer French cities tend to empty out (apart from tourists) as locals head to the seaside or the countryside.
In winter the Pyrenees and Alps are popular ski destinations.
3. Northerners like a drink
There is a very widespread stereotype, although not really backed up by evidence, that the people of Normandy, Brittany and the Nord area like a drink or two. Many suggest this is to cope with the weather, which does tend to be rainier than the rest of France (although has plenty of sunshine too).
Official health data doesn’t really back this up, as none of these areas show a significantly greater than average rate of daily drinkers, although Nord does hold the sad record for the highest rate of people dying from alcohol-related liver disease.
What’s certainly true is that Brittany and Normandy are cider country, with delicious locally-produced ciders on sale everywhere, well worth a try if you are visiting.
4. Poverty
The map labels the north eastern corner of France as simply pauvres – the poor.
The north east of the country was once France’s industrial and coal-mining heartland, and as traditional industries have declined there are indeed pockets of extreme poverty and high unemployment. The novel The End of Eddy, telling the story of novelist Edouard Louis’ childhood in a struggling small town near Amiens, lays out the social problems of such areas in stark detail.
However poverty is not just confined to one corner of France and the département that records the highest levels of deprivation is actually Seine-Saint-Denis in the Paris suburbs.
5. Southern prejudice
According to the map, those from the south are either branleurs (slackers) or menteurs (liars). 
This isn’t true, obviously, there are many lovely, hard-working and truthful people in southern France, but the persistent stereotype is that they are lazy – maybe because it’s too hot to do much work – and slightly shifty.
Even people who aren’t actually rude about southerners can be pretty patronising, as shown when south west native Jean Castex became the prime minister in summer 2020. 
Castex has a noticeable south west accent which sparked much comment from the Paris-based media and political classes, with comments ranging from the patronising – “I love his accent, I feel like I’m on holiday” – to the very patronising – “that accent is a bit rugby” (a reference to the fact that TV rugby commentators often come from France’s rugby heartlands in the south west).
In his first year as PM, Castex has undertaken a dizzying schedule of appointments around the four corners of France, so hopefully the lazy myth can now be put to bed.
And anyone tempted to take the piss out of his accent – glottophobie (accent prejudice) is now a crime in France.
For more maps that reflect France, head to