According to UN, Europe is experiencing a drought that has been unprecedented and July 2014 was the hottest month on record.
Christophe Bechu of the French Ecological Transformation Minister says that nearly half of Europe is experiencing a severe drought. However, 100 French towns are still without drinking water.
“There is nothing left in the pipes,”EuroNews reported that Bechu said it during a trip to Roumoules last week. Bechu also stated that France’s over 100 municipalities cannot rely on truck-transported supplies.
This drought was exacerbated in part by the devastating heatwave, which has caused temperatures to soar as high as 40° Celsius in certain parts of the country, leading to evacuations, wildfires and other heat-related deaths.
Elisabeth Borne, French Prime Minister has declared that the drought is under control “the worst ever recorded” in the country’s history and claims it has also had a severe impact on the economy as it has devastated French farmers, whose crops have withered under the heat.
A few farmers claim that they’ve seen an increase in the production of products such as corn, soybeans, and sunflower.
Borne established an “inter-ministerial crisis unit”to remedy the situation, and has asked the French for assistance “very vigilant about the use of our water resources.” Most of France’s 96 departments are currently at one of the top three levels of warning for drought, with 66 being at the highest, “crisis” warning level which allows water to be used only for things like health, civil security, drinking and sanitation uses.
The “crisis” level means it is prohibited to water gardens, golf courses, private crops, to fill up pools, wash cars or operate water parks. It can be extended to restrict water use to humans, animals and keep aquatic species alive.
A report from the European Commission published in late July suggested that nearly half of the EU was exposed to warning levels of drought while 11% of the bloc could face the higher “alert” level.
According to the Commission, countries such as France, Spain, Portugal, France and Romania could experience severe droughts or heatwaves that will result in a decrease in their crop yields. Italian farmers have already said half of their crops could be devastated by the high temperatures and estimate that the damage they have already sustained could exceed €3 billion ($3.1 billion).
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