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Drought: infringements on the water noted in around 7% of controls

Seventy-eight French departments are currently affected by drought restrictions. [Philippe LOPEZ / AFP]

Published on 08/18/2023 at 18:58 - Updated on 08/18/2023 at 18:58


Faced with the drought that is hitting France, the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) has carried out several controls on the use of water. Result: about 7% of controls resulted in violations.

Filling swimming pools, fields or washing cars... All these cases are the subject of offenses according to a report by the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB). Indeed, while France is experiencing a period of severe drought (link), controls on the use of water have been put in place. And almost 7% of them revealed violations.

“To date, the OFB has already carried out nearly 6,000 controls relating to quantitative water management measures throughout the national territory, 90% of which relate to drought decrees issued by the prefects in the departments”, indicated the public establishment, which carried out more than a thousand controls the first week of July.

“Failures or offenses committed by professionals or individuals were noted in approximately 7% of cases. These control operations will continue at least until the fall, as long as the restrictions linked to the drought persist”, added the OFB in a press release (link).

The types of offenses can include: "prohibited irrigation, exceeding authorized flow rates, watering, unauthorized hours, swimming pools, etc.", detailed a spokeswoman for the OFB to AFP.


Not respecting the use of water can be costly. Individuals incur a fine of up to 1,500 euros and legal entities 7,500 euros.

Seventy-eight departments were affected by water restrictions in mid-August, including forty in a crisis situation like Ain, Aude or Alpes-Maritimes.

In “crisis”, many uses of water are prohibited such as filling swimming pools, washing cars or watering sports grounds. In agriculture, irrigation is also prohibited (except seeds and plants with certain systems).

“The various controls carried out by OFB agents are placed under the authority of the prefects who identify the types of water use and the geographical sectors of the department to be prioritized. Thus, according to these, they may concern individuals, farmers, businesses or communities, ”said the spokesperson.

While France had 72% of its water tables below normal for the season on August 1, it seems that the heat has decided to settle in France. Indeed, Météo France has placed 28 departments on heat wave orange vigilance (link) for this Saturday, August 19.

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