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Drought in France? Dought Conditions Forecast for 2007

Thursday 15 March 2007

Large areas of France are heading for drought conditions this year, as a result of lower than average rainfall since last September.

Worst affected areas are in the South West, in Languedoc-Roussillon and the Ile de France, where the rainfall deficit has been up to 70% lower than normal.

In the South, navigation along the Canal du Midi between Toulouse and the Mediterranean has been halted until at least the end of March, as the water level is too low.

Lower than average snow falls in the mountain regions has meant that reservoirs are down by half in the Alps and two thirds in the Pyrénées.

Over the past four years, France has continued to suffer from a shortage of rainfall, and has never fully replished stocks from the extreme drought of 2003.

Experts are now forecasting that restrictions on water usage will need to be introduced over the summer.

Biggest tensions are likely to arise with the farming community, who account for 80% of water consumption.

The government is urging farmers to produce crops that require less water and to improve water harvesting - an agricole responsable as they call it.

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