France is gripped by an intense drought despite two days of rainfall which brought citizens some respite from the scorching heatwave-Zamkuwire
France is gripped by an intense drought despite two days of rainfall which brought citizens some respite from the scorching heatwave, the Environment Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
Of the 93 departments affected by drought, 77 were placed in crisis situations allowing water use for only priority use, the statement said.
According to the official weather service Meteo France, the dry spell in June, July, and August has “set a new record for soil drought” since 1958.
The drought situation is encapsulated in France’s longest river, the Loire which has reached the lowest water levels. In many parts, the river can be crossed on foot. The Loire Valley, connected with the river, spanning 280 kilometers, in central France is also facing one of the worst droughts.
The administrative regions Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire where the Loire valley is located have placed the Loire river and its tributaries on drought alert.
The prefect of Maine-et-Loire on Wednesday which comes under Pays de la Loire issued a new decree temporarily limiting the use of water to deal with the threat of consequences of drought or risk of shortage. It underlined the low water levels in the sectors recharged by the Loire are being maintained with difficulty causing pumping difficulties for irrigators and risking environmental degradation.
The decree said the weather forecast– rainfall and temperature — does not allow for sustainable improvement in the short term.
The drought has also impacted the four nuclear power plants Belleville-sur-Loire in Cher, Dampierre-en-Burly in Loiret, Saint-Laurent-des-Eaux in Loir-et-Cher, and Chinon in Indre-et -Loire, that depend on the Loire river water from the river to cool their reactors.
One of the two working reactors of the Belleville-sur-Loire plant was shut down on August 13 for repair work.