NewsHistoric drought in France: what travelers need to know

Historic drought in France: what travelers need to know

Created: 08/10/2022, 5:18 p.m

Waldbrände in Frankreich Carro La Couronne.
In France, tourists and locals had to be evacuated because of rampant forest fires. © Clement Mahoudeau/Imago

Fires, water shortages, dried up rivers – in some regions of France, travelers must expect restrictions due to the heat wave.

Paris – “This drought is the worst that has ever been recorded in our country,” said the office of French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. And it could last for two more weeks or get worse. The lack of rain is exacerbated by successive heat waves, which increase both evaporation and the need for water. This is a “disaster” for agriculture and the environment. But tourism is also indirectly affected. Because in some regions of France, but also elsewhere in Europe, there are water shortages and forest fires as a result of the drought. In addition, rivers and lakes are drying up.

In southern France, for example, and south of Bordeaux, forests had caught fire, and so far firefighters have only been able to partially control the flames. Before setting off, travelers must check whether the motorways on their route are currently open.

France: Waters are drying up, the drinking water supply is collapsing

And bodies of water are also affected, as travelers are finding out. The Loire near Orléans has such a low water level that adults only reach their knees, reports the Süddeutsche Zeitung . The river Verdon is up to six meters lower than in previous years, canoeing in the famous Verdon Gorge in Provence is apparently not possible at the moment – because there only flows a “brownish, stinking trickle”. In addition, according to Welt , shipping on the Rhine is restricted and the Serre-Ponçon reservoir in the foothills of the southern Alps has lost 13 meters of water depth.

As Environment Minister Christophe Béchu explained, the drinking water supply had collapsed in more than 100 French communities. The affected communities are now being supplied with drinking water by truck, “since there is nothing left in the pipes,” said Béchu during a visit to Roumoules in south-eastern France. He called on the regions affected by water shortages to take action in good time: “If you have to get water, you shouldn’t wait until the morning when there is no more water in the pipes to do it.” A list of the communities without drinking water is the According to , the relevant ministry is not yet available.

Drought in France: crisis level in more than 60 of 96 departments

According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung , the crisis level has been declared in more than 60 of the 96 departments on the mainland. Green areas and hobby gardens can no longer be watered there, and surfaces and cars can no longer be wet cleaned. As the interactive map of the agriculture portal shows, only the north-east is currently spared from a large-scale crisis level – but the warning levels were also declared there.

Overall, there are only a few exceptions to the drought in France, such as the capital Paris or the Pyrénées Ariégeoises Nature Park, where only local warnings apply instead of regional ones. So anyone who is currently traveling to France will most likely witness the drought. (tk with dpa/afp)

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