A significant risk of drought this summer over much of France

A significant risk of drought this summer over much of France
A significant risk of drought this summer over much of France

The heavy showers in May left the impression of a rainy spring, but it is not. The season has been dry and the groundwater situation has deteriorated in recent months. And it’s not going to get better this summer. The Geological and Mining Research Office in charge of groundwater announces a high risk of a new drought over a large part of France, in particular in the eastern half, according to its forecasts published on Friday, June 11.

Already last year, the hottest year on record, the summer was marked by a severe agricultural drought, particularly affecting wheat, beet and oilseed crops such as rapeseed. This time, while the summer has not even started, the situation is already “quite exceptional”, commented to Agence France Presse (AFP) Violaine Bault, hydrogeologist at BRGM. The heavy rains in May were not enough: “It had been three months since it rained. All the water was used to moisten the soil and feed the vegetation, very little water reached the groundwater”, she clarified.

And Météo-France forecasts for June-July-August temperatures above normal for most of France and less rain than normal. The summer of 2021 is therefore likely to be the scene of a new drought, like the four previous years.

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Eastern France at “very high” risk of drought

Some regions are likely to be particularly affected. The BRGM has classified in “very high” risk of drought the water tables of the Alsace plain, the corridors of the Saône and the Rhône, and the Mediterranean coast. Many other tablecloths are at risk “fort“, especially in Brittany and in the center of the country. On the other hand, the risk is low to very low in the Paris basin and in the Aquitaine basin.

The Ministry of Ecological Transition published its drought forecast map last month, which suggested a risk “very probable” or “probable“of drought for almost the entire territory, with an emphasis in particular on the Mediterranean coast and the Rhône valley. “It doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be drought orders, but we assume that there will be”, commented Violaine Bault.

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Last summer, nearly 90 departments issued orders imposing restrictions on water use.

 
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