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France forms task force for worst drought yet

August 5, 2022

France is currently facing a "historic situation" that requires urgent action, Elisabeth Borne said. The French prime minister believes the drought "could persist" for another two weeks.

A picture taken on August 4, 2022 in Les Brenets shows the dry bed of Brenets Lake (Lac des Brenets), part of the Doubs River, a natural border between eastern France and western Switzerland
The drought is so bad rivers are drying up, like this one on the French-Swiss borderImage: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne has set up an interministerial crisis team, saying the country was suffering from its worst drought ever recorded.

And the situation could get even worse, according to a statement from Borne's office.

"This drought is the worst ever recorded in our country," her office announced. "The situation could persist for the next two weeks or become even worse," it added.

People in the sun at the Trocadero fountain, with the Eiffel Tower in background, on a sunny summer afternoon in Paris, on August 3
Water supplies are running lowImage: STEFANO RELLANDINI/AFP

Dire circumstances

"The current exceptional drought is depriving many communities of water and is a tragedy for our farmers, our ecosystems and biodiversity," the statement said.

The lack of rain is being aggravated by successive heat waves, Borne continued, which, on the one hand, increase evaporation and on the other the demand for water.

"Faced with this historic situation, the prime minister has decided to activate an interdepartmental crisis task force and urges everyone to conserve our water resources," her office said.

In France, large parts of the mainland are now suffering from drought. Depending on the severity, different restrictions on water apply, including on irrigation.

According to local media, some municipalities were temporarily without water supply.

France has experienced wildfires for two successive summers as climate change continues to wreak havoc, sometimes with deadly consequences, across the continent.

How is the heat wave gripping Europe?

jsi/msh (AFP, dpa)