The French government has created a crisis team to deal with a historic drought that has left more than 100 municipalities without drinking water. The trucks are bringing water to these areas, since “there is nothing left in the pipes,” said the Minister of Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu.
“We are in an unprecedented context, we have never experienced a drought like this. And the bad news is that, from what we see, there is no reason to think that it will stop,” declared the French minister.
The heat wave that has suffocated France since June has caused the leaves of the trees to shed their leaves prematurely, creating scenes that seem autumnal.
This interministerial cabinet “will coordinate the necessary civil security measures”, such as the supply of water to the municipalities or the delivery of drinking water, and will monitor the repercussions of the drought on the most affected industries, such as agriculture and livestock or the energy.
Restrictions were also announced, whenever necessary in order to guarantee “priority uses” of water, such as civil security and the supply of drinking water.
In Rome, residents and tourists cooled off at the many water fountains scattered around the city. Sixteen cities, including popular tourist destinations such as Rome, Florence and Palermo, were placed on the “red alert” list as temperatures exceeded 40 degrees.
In the north of the country, measures have been implemented such as rationing of water to irrigate fields, the prohibition of filling swimming pools and watering private gardens, and night supply cuts.
The Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management, Mark Harbers, has asked citizens to take less time to shower, not to wash the car or water the garden. All this due to the current scarcity of water in the country, also due to the continuous drought.
Houseboat owners on the Rhine River say they face a growing problem from rising temperatures. The difference between the water level in summer and winter is so great that the boats are tilted.
The drought caused major problems in the Danube River, where in the Calafat area, the river dropped so low that islands of sand came to the surface. Danube levels are close to historical lows.