People in areas of southern France where water consumption has been limited to 200 liters per day per person generally said they did not notice the difference.
Local authorities in nine communes in the south of the Var department have decided to impose limits due to a drought crisis which means that water reserves are running out.
The decision was taken last week by the town halls of all the municipalities called the Pays de Fayence, made up of the municipalities:
- Cars in the forest
The 200 liters per day limit, which in some areas of Seillans is capped at 150 litres, is based on a 2020 study by the Observatory of Public Water Services which shows that the average person in France uses around 149 liters of water. fresh water per day.
“The 200-litre limit is high enough compared to our daily consumption,” said Anthony Massiera, a 38-year-old gardener who lives in Tourrettes.
He said that in his household of four, the average daily water consumption is 600 litres, or 150 liters per person.
Read more: French measures against drought: How much water do household appliances consume?
Mr Massiera added that the restriction seemed even more manageable as his property has a 12 meter deep shaft. He also said that his garden doesn’t require much maintenance.
Read more: How do French authorities inform people about water restrictions?
Jean-Marc Robart, a retired farmer who lives near Le Muy, which is not one of the municipalities subject to the restrictions, said he was not concerned by such a measure introduced by his town hall.
“I have been limiting my water consumption for 46 years already,” he said.
He added that he had a well and four water tanks located on his remote property.
Although he does not feel affected by the water restrictions, he said he has noticed the effects of the drought on the environment.
“I noticed that the cicadas arrived in mid-May and left around the beginning of August, a month earlier than expected due to the extreme drought,” he said.
Pierre Mouret, a 57-year-old psychiatrist residing in another Var town, Flayosc, said he was worried about the drying up of the neighboring lakes.
“I have never seen such low levels in my life,” he said, referring to Lake Serre-Ponçon and Lake Sainte-Croix.
But he said that in discussions with fellow psychiatrists living in Hyères, the issue of water restrictions never arises because it does not concern them.
He said he stopped going to local golf clubs after learning they were still watering their greens.
“It makes no sense,” he said.
Crackdown on rule breakers
Bernard Henry, the mayor of Fayence, one of the communes where the limit is in place, posted a statement on Facebook on July 27 saying the commune would crack down on people exceeding the 200-litre limit.
Those who break the rules risk a fine of €1,500, which can reach €3,000 in the event of a repeat offence.
“We are going to intensify the checks [people’s] daily or weekly [water] consumption by targeted or random meter readings and we will enforce the law and fine it to its fullest extent,” he wrote.
He said people caught breaking the limit could have a “pill” installed in their home, which is a type of filter that can reduce water flow.
Mr Massiera said he saw several helicopters hovering over the area and says he suspects they are being used to survey swimming pools or spot gardens with strangely lush green grass.
The town hall of Draguignan in the Var has reported receiving calls from people reporting excessive water consumption by their neighbors.
Another interlocutor of The Connexion, who lives in the Alpes-Maritimes, in the neighboring Var, said he knew several people who had received calls from the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) asking them to reduce their water consumption. .
He said these people all had swimming pools.
The OFB said it had carried out 4,000 checks related to drought restriction rules since May.
Among these controls, 400 gave rise to “procedures”, which can range from an official warning to a fine.
Many checks were probably carried out on larger scale businesses, factories or farms, but many more were on private homes.
60 French departments have ‘crisis’ drought alerts as heat continues
Drought map update: See French departments with water restrictions