France’s historic drought harms agriculture and electricity supply
A record drought in France is weighing heavily on electricity supply and agriculture, as the country faces a series of severe heat waves.
Western and southern parts of Europe have suffered from high temperatures and dry conditions since June.
France recorded just 9.7 millimeters of rainfall in July, about 10% of the amount recorded the same month last year and the lowest July total since records began.
The dry conditions left more than 100 municipalities short of drinking water. The French government has set up a task force to deal with what it calls the “worst drought on record” in the country.
In Paris, municipal authorities have stopped operating fountains that do not recycle water. They ask residents to take steps to save water, such as taking showers instead of baths.
Some nuclear power plants that use water from rivers to cool their reactors have been forced to drastically reduce their production, because their drainage waters increase the temperature of the rivers.
The drought has also dealt a blow to the production of wheat, milk and other agricultural products. The government estimates that this year’s wheat yield will fall by more than 7% from the previous year.
Drought conditions are expected to persist for several more weeks.