‘Water will run out in 25 days’ – Corsica imposes strict new drought restrictions

Local authorities in Corsica have announced strict restrictions on water use, warning residents that if consumption continues at the current rate, "there will be no more water in 25 days."

'Water will run out in 25 days' - Corsica imposes strict new drought restrictions
Plants on a drought ground in Bastelicaccia on the French Mediterranean island of Corsica in 2021. (Photo by Pascal POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP)

Rivers have slowed to a trickle, vegetation is dying and wildfires have broken out in the northern part of Corsica, leading the Haut-Corse local authorities to introduce strict new rules. 

If Météo France’s forecasts are confirmed, the region can expect very little or no rain in the next fifteen days.

All 96 of France’s metropolitan départements also have some level of water restrictions in effect, but local authorities have the power to impose extra restrictions if needed.

“Severe crisis will be unavoidable without a collective effort,” warned Haute-Corse’s préfet, François Ravier, in an announcement on Tuesday, August 2nd.

“If we continue at this rate of water consumption, given the anticipated weather developments, there will be no more water in 25 days!” 

As a result, local authorities have placed the northern Corsican region on “reinforced alert” for drought. 

READ MORE: MAP: Where are water restrictions in place in France and what do they mean?

All consumers – whether they use tap or non-tap (raw or rain-collected) water – are called upon to decrease their consumption by following the regulations outlined below:

  • Watering of gardens or sports pitches will only be allowed every 36 hours – even if you are using l’eau brut – ‘raw water’ that is not from a tap eg well water.

For households, the following activities are prohibited at all times:

  • Washing of vehicles outside of professional stations equipped with water savers (excepting for professional vehicles subject to sanitary or technical requirements)
  • Filling private swimming pools for family use after emptying, as well as additional filling
  • Washing boats (excepting professional boats subject to sanitary or technical requirements)
  • Watering by sprinkling of lawns, public and private green spaces, recreational gardens
  • Washing or watering terraces and private roads

The following activities are prohibited between 8am and 8pm:

  • Watering lawns, public and private green spaces, and recreational gardens with drip irrigation systems
  • Watering sports fields, golf courses, plant nurseries and public gardens
  • Washing public roads

The public announcement concluded by calling upon locals to lower current rates of consumption or risk a “severe crisis situation that will arise within 25 days.” 

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Natural disaster costs hit 23-year high in France

Natural disasters cost French insurers €10 billion last year, a two-decade high as such events become more frequent and intense, the head of the sector's federation said on Thursday.

Natural disaster costs hit 23-year high in France

“It was an annus horribilis,” France Assureurs president Florence Lustman told Europe 1 radio, citing the hailstorms, floods and droughts that hit the country last year.

Natural disasters cost the industry €3.5 billion on average per year between 2017-2021.

The 2022 figure is the highest since storms pummelled France in 1999.

The insurance federation said the bill from natural disasters will exceed €140 billion over the next 30 years, double the amount for the previous three decades.

Reinsurance giant Swiss Re said in December that natural and man-made catastrophes caused $268 billion of economic losses worldwide in 2022.