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Environment

Large parts of France facing drought after heatwave

media A woman bathes in the Trocadero Fountain near the Eiffel Tower in Paris during a heatwave on June 28, 2019. The temperature in France on June 28 surpassed 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) for the first time ever. AFP

Several areas in France are facing water shortages, notably the Creuse region and some northern cities, which have not seen rain since the start of the summer. The national weather service, Météo-France, warns that 61 of the 96 mainland departments face a water crisis.

Water shortages in France are not rare, and soil humidity was close to normal until the start of June. But the heat wave at the end of the month, which broke all-time temperature records in France, dried out the soil, and there has been little rainfall since.

"Some cities in the north have not had a single drop of rain since the start of summer on 21 June,” said Météo-France. Paris has not seen “a single drop of water”, which has never before happened during this period.No change is expected in the coming days, with sunny days throughout the country and high temperatures.

As a result, some areas have put in place water restrictions. Farmers are being told to cut back on irrigation. Individuals are only to use water for essential purposes, and not to wash their cars or water plants.

In the eastern Vosges region, foresters have been cutting down fir trees which are dying of thirst. And around Europe, 60 to 80 million trees have been infested with parasites attracted to dying trees.

Drought across Europe

In Spain, grape and tomato harvests are wilting. The country is seeing its third driest year this century.

Unusually high temperatures are expected to continue in Spain into August and September.

Spanish weather agency AEMET said around two-thirds of the country's population are having to deal with longer summers and higher temperatures as a result of climate change.

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