‘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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IN PICTURES: French drought intensifies as River Loire dries up

As France continues to suffer its worst drought on record, many of its mighty rivers - including the Loire and the Dordogne - have in some areas dwindled to a trickle while in other regions lakes and reservoirs have vanished.

IN PICTURES: French drought intensifies as River Loire dries up

Almost all of France is now under some level of water restrictions and in many communes tap water has been rationed or even cut off altogether as supplies run dry.

The climate crisis-linked drought – intensified by an unusually hot summer – has dried out many subterranean water supplies, but the country’s rivers are also affected.

From the Loire to the Dordogne, rivers are slowing to a trickle – as this aerial video from French TV channel LCI shows.

The dry bed of the Loire River in Saumur, western France on August 8th. Photo by GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP)

Swimmers bathe in the Adour river near Aire-sur-Adour, southwestern France, on August 9th. Photo by GAIZKA IROZ / AFP

Across France many lakes have also virtually dried up, while reservoirs are at a perilously low level.

The dry bed of Lac des Brenets, part of the Doubs River, a natural border between eastern France and western Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

In inland areas, many lakes have ‘beaches’ that serve as leisure attractions for locals who are too far away for day-trips to the sea – complete with sun-beds, bars, cafés and souvenir stalls.

Some lake beaches have been forced to close because of the lack of water.

A man walks at the Castillon lake, partially dried out, in Saint-Andre-les-Alpes, southeastern France. Photo by Christophe SIMON / AFP

Marshland has also dried out, threatening wildlife and also the livelihood of France’s artisan salt-makers, who produce fleur de sel from salt marshes around the French coastline.

French salt worker Evan Thoby collects salt flowers in salt marshes, in Batz-sur-Mer, western France. Photo by Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP

These scenes have been repeated across Europe, including in Italy where the Po river has dried up and Germany where the Rhine – which carried a huge amount of freight traffic in normal times – is perilously low and has had to restrict shipping.