Almost all of France is now under some level of water restrictions and in many communes tap water has been rationed or even cut off altogether as supplies run dry.
The climate crisis-linked drought – intensified by an unusually hot summer – has dried out many subterranean water supplies, but the country’s rivers are also affected.
From the Loire to the Dordogne, rivers are slowing to a trickle – as this aerial video from French TV channel LCI shows.
La Loire, this well-known French river with all the famous castles on its shores.
— Mélanie Vogel (@Melanie_Vogel_) August 7, 2022
The River Loire today, Loireauxence, Loire-Atlantique, France 🇫🇷 pic.twitter.com/eztDQLezVZ
— Desomag (@Desomag) August 10, 2022
The ever-shrinking Dordogne. At puddle-depth in many places. Sorry, didn’t intend to write depressing doom-laden tweet! Still looks beautiful though. Bonne journée ! pic.twitter.com/iL5ULrCH37
— Franglaise (@frangla) August 11, 2022
Across France many lakes have also virtually dried up, while reservoirs are at a perilously low level.
In inland areas, many lakes have ‘beaches’ that serve as leisure attractions for locals who are too far away for day-trips to the sea – complete with sun-beds, bars, cafés and souvenir stalls.
Some lake beaches have been forced to close because of the lack of water.
Marshland has also dried out, threatening wildlife and also the livelihood of France’s artisan salt-makers, who produce fleur de sel from salt marshes around the French coastline.
These scenes have been repeated across Europe, including in Italy where the Po river has dried up and Germany where the Rhine – which carried a huge amount of freight traffic in normal times – is perilously low and has had to restrict shipping.