‘Most Severe’ Drought Grips France as Extreme Heat Persists in Europe

‘Most Severe’ Drought Grips France as Extreme Heat Persists in Europe.

’ Drought Grips France, Extreme Heat Persists

PARIS — France declared Friday that it was in the grip of its “most severe” drought, one that has also desiccated large areas of Europe this summer, causing wildfires and imperiling crops as temperature records shatter across the continent.

Ms. Borne said France had received insufficient rainfall and had been hit in recent weeks by an “accumulation of successive heat waves,” increasing demand for water even as precious reserves evaporated in seemingly endless days of sweltering heat. She urged the French to be “very vigilant” about their water usage.

Water restrictions are already in place in almost all of mainland France, and officials have been on patrol in the past few weeks to ensure that residents and businesses comply.

Over half of France’s regional departments are classified as being in a “crisis” situation that bars people from washing their cars or watering their lawns and prevents farmers from irrigating some crops, frustrating those, like potato growers, who have been forced to let their fields wither.

Drinking water reserves have already dried up in over a hundred municipalities around the country, the authorities said. Gérardmer, a popular resort town in eastern France, announced that it would pump water from its lake for household use for only the fourth time in its history.

“It’s worrying for the future,” Stessy Speissmann, the town’s mayor, told the BFMTV news channel on Thursday, “because if these situations persist this early in the year, and repeat year after year, we are going to have to find other solutions.”

Ms. Borne, the prime minister, did not provide numbers in her announcement, but this week Météo France, the national weather forecaster, said that last month was the driest July recorded in more than 60 years, with just 9.7 millimeters, or about 0.38 inches, of rainfall.

Other parts of Europe have also been gripped by scorching temperatures and severe drought, with more heat waves and little rain expected in the coming days and weeks.

Europe Top Stories