Europe is sweltering in the heat

The drought is more marked every day across Europe, with the Netherlands officially declaring a “water shortage” while France and Spain face a new heat wave.

France and Spain faced their third heat wave on Wednesday since June, while drought is becoming more marked by the day across Europe, with the Netherlands officially ordering a “lack of water”. France faced Wednesday its hottest day in the third heat wave on record since June with temperatures of up to 40°C. “We are concerned (about) these close repetitions of heat waves”WHO “Do not allow organisms to return to normal functioning”, explains Isabelle Bonmarin of Public Health France (SPF). “We expect more deaths when we go into a heat wave (…) and especially those aged 75 and over”added his colleague Robin Lagarrigue, who showed that a “Assessment will be done in September”.

Drought in the land

In the city centers, this is the rush of water: “We sell 100 bottles a day, compared to the usual 20, while the Lyonnais are on vacation!”, said an employee of Le Viste newsstand, opposite Place Bellecour. The prefect of Haute-Corse, for his part, called on Tuesday in a tweet to citizens to reduce their water consumption because “at this rate (…) due to the expected change in weather, there will be no water in 25 days!”. In different fronts of forest fires, in Haute-Corse as in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, the situation has stabilized. Similarly, train traffic on the TER and TGV, was interrupted Tuesday afternoon in Landes due to a fire, the fire has been repaired. This heat only strengthens the dryness.

The extension of periods without rain threatens some crops and forces the imposition of water restrictions, France is one of the European countries most exposed to the risk of drought. “I saw my olive blossoms on fire”sad Jean Berneau, 64, an olive grower in Lagorce, in the southwest of the country, who after extracting two tons of oil from his olives in 2021, does not expect to produce more than 400 liters this year. . “It can be dramatic…”. This heat only strengthened the drought, as July 2022 was the second driest month of all months and the driest July on record.

In Gérardmer, (Vosges), the flow of the springs is so low that, since Wednesday, the town supplies its public water network with water from the lake. Result: the water will be declared undrinkable, a priori for 48 hours, the time to perform bacteriological tests. It wasn’t the first time, but it didn’t happen “immediately”, Mayor Stessy Speissman was alarmed. Another consequence of the heat wave: EDF announced that it is possible “restrictions” in the production of the Tricastin nuclear power plant (Drôme), due to “high temperature forecasts in the Rhône”, whose water is used to cool the reactors. Alert also on the Rhine, where boats should be lightened by a third because of “depressive problems”, warns Waterways in France. Nearly 600 km of canals were also closed, mainly in Grand Est and Burgundy, affecting boating activities.

“Water shortage” in the Netherlands

Not only France is suffering, the whole of Europe is affected. After a brief truce at the end of July, Spain is again on alert on Wednesday with temperatures expected to exceed 40°C in some southern provinces, after reaching 43.3°C on Tuesday in Talavera de la Reina, in the central province of Toledo. it “third heat wave likely” will last until at least Thursday, the spokesman for the Spanish meteorological agency (AEMET), Ruben del Campo, told AFP. “There is no doubt that climate change is behind it” the repetition of this event, he judged. Tropical nights, where the temperature does not fall below 20°C, are expected in many areas of eastern and southern Spain, thanks to the high Mediterranean temperature of between 3 and 4°C above normal, according to AEMET.

The Netherlands also ruled on Wednesday a “water shortage” official due to drought. “The Netherlands is a land of water, but here too our water is precious”said Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Mark Harbers. The country is protected from water by a famous system of dams, dykes and canals but with almost a third of its area below sea level, it remains extremely vulnerable to climate change. climate. In the UK, July was the driest since 1935 in England and even the driest on record in the South. England is now in a state of “long dry season”, the period before the drought, which means the first measures of conservation. Several water companies have announced restrictions affecting millions of people.

Suddenly, the threat of forest fires is permanent, after the devastating fires in July in the southwest of France, in Spain, in Portugal or in Greece. A large forest fire broke out on July 24 in the Bohemian Switzerland National Park on the border between the Czech Republic and Germany, where heat records were broken (36.4C). One thousand hectares were affected. As of Monday, firefighters hoped to have the fire under control within days. Poland, it recorded very low river levels. In many regions, restrictions are imposed on the use of water, especially in gardens. The drought and heat wave are “the manifestation of global warming, now there is nothing left” was born “challenges”explained on Wednesday the French Minister for Energy Transition, Agnès Pannier-Runacher. “The 2020 climate will be forgettable, and the 2022 climate will be the coolest in years to come”.

SEE ALSO – Drought in Paris: Anne Souyris details the measures taken by the City

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