France Forms Crisis Unit to Face Worst Drought on Record




  • In Business
  • 2022-08-05 11:21:38Z
  • By Bloomberg
 

(Bloomberg) -- The French government activated a crisis unit to deal with the worst drought on record, and warned conditions could get worse.

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The inter-ministerial task force will coordinate water supply to areas most affected and track the drought's impact on energy production and agriculture, the office of Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said Friday. Borne's office also urged people to conserve water and said restrictions will continue to be put in place where necessary to prioritize health needs, security and drinking water supply.

The situation, which follows a hot, dry spring, has led the government to enforce water restrictions in 93 out of the 96 administrative regions known as departments. More than 100 towns are without drinking water, a government minister said Friday. Water-saving measures include a ban on irrigation for farmland.

"This drought is the worst ever recorded in our country," Borne's office said in a statement. "The lack of rain is aggravated by the accumulation of successive heat waves which reinforce evaporation and water needs."

France is trucking in water to the towns where the supply has dried up, Ecological Transition Minister Christophe Bechu said Friday during a visit to a lavender farm in Provence, according to Agence France-Presse.

France's corn crop probably will drop 19% this year because of the hot, dry weather, the Agriculture Ministry said Friday.

The crisis is "a tragedy for our farmers, our ecosystems and for biodiversity," according to the prime minister's statement. Weather forecasts suggest the drought could last another two weeks and become "even more concerning," Borne's office said. The country just had its driest July in decades.

(Updates to add forecast for corn crop in sixth paragraph.)

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