A southern French village has taken drastic measures because of the persistent drought: brushing your teeth and drinking from the tap are currently prohibited in Villars-sur-Var in the north of Nice, as the municipality announced on Tuesday.
The water from the tap should not be used for cooking, it said. Due to the drought, not enough water comes from the spring that supplies the town of 760 inhabitants with drinking water.
For the time being, every resident will receive two bottles of drinking water per day from the town hall. The responsible water supply company has already found a new extraction point. But the study of the water quality is not yet complete, it said.
At the end of May, the prefecture of Alpes-Maritimes had already rationed the water. Washing cars, filling private pools and watering lawns have since been banned in the department that includes Nice and the Côte d’Azur.
The heat wave that swept through France last week has now abated. It was the earliest hot spell in France since weather records began. It has exacerbated the drought that has persisted in some parts of the country since the winter and spring were dry.
In view of the drought, a dispute has broken out in Italy over the idea of diverting water from Lake Garda into the Po River. The proposal came up in the past few days because Italy’s longest river currently has extremely little water. In some places, the authorities measured historic lows, as the latest management report on Monday showed.
The idea was to take water from Lake Garda, which was still around 60 percent full. However, the Association of Municipalities on Lake Garda is opposed to this. “If we release more water than is allowed for agriculture and we comply with the request for the Po River, we would do double damage,” said Secretary General Pierlucio Ceresa.
It’s not that Lake Garda doesn’t want to release water for the Po River, Ceresa explained. But there is just not enough water. The plan would leave not only a “sick Po River” but also a “sick Lake Garda” in the end.
Ceresa spoke of the worst crisis in 60 years. In northern Italy in particular, there has been an extreme drought for several weeks. Civil protection is preparing for a nationwide operation if the government declares a state of emergency because of the drought, a spokesman for the authority told the German Press Agency on Tuesday. In July and August there will be a great risk of forest fires due to the drought.
The Bishop of Milan, Mario Delpini, announced that he would pray for water and for those suffering from the drought on Saturday. The Coldiretti Farmers’ Association warned on Tuesday of a poor harvest and up to ten percent less milk due to the stress on livestock.