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Water ShortageThreatens France

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Water shortage is the insufficient amount of water resources that could meet the demands of household, industrial, agricultural and environmental needs. The scarcity of water is a result of numerous factors such as climate change, altered weather patterns, pollution, and the overall poor management of the accessible supply. Such an environmental issue is occurring in France, which is a country that is currently making restrictions and dealing with reparations from a damaging drought that lasted over thirty years. The worst water shortage hit the country in 1976. To its effect, rivers are drying up, reservoirs are struggling to meet demands, and rationing measures are continuously being introduced in severely hit areas. It is recorded that France is receiving over 60% less rainfall and that its water levels have been at their lowest for over fifty years.

Effects on Agriculture[edit]

The lack of water resources is undeniably affecting significant aspects of the environment. The ministry of agriculture and economy introduced new farming limitations on irrigation fields to most of the agricultural departments, which poses a threat to the supply of the nation’s crops. According to officials, “water police” groups have interfered with the farmer’s production and are supervising them to ensure that the water restrictions on irrigation are being practiced. They are also handing penalty fines of up to €1,500 for agriculture workers who refuse to follow the standards in order to save the crops and their business.

Killing Species[edit]

The drought is also destroying millions of habitats and disrupting the food chain, which is problematic because it is killing large numbers of species such as fishes, mammals, birds, amphibians and many more. According to a 2001 environmental report from the Encyclopedia of Nations, only 13.5% of France’s total land area was protected. It is recorded, “From a total of 93 mammal species, 13 are threatened, as are 7 of 269 breeding bird species, 3 of 32 types of reptiles, 2 of 32 types of amphibians, and 3 species of freshwater fish from a total of 53.”

Threatening Nuclear Complex[edit]

The greatest threat that water shortage poses is the fact that France provides 78.8% of the country’s electricity through the use of 59 nuclear reactors, 44 of which are located by rivers. Therefore, this problem could destruct a majority of the nation’s electrical power since the water functions to cool down the nuclear reactors.


There are radical solutions to water shortage but most would require a substantial amount of money. Some possibilities are to spend more on reservoirs, make companies fix leaky pipes, or to build a cross-country pipeline. Nevertheless, France passed more water restriction laws in the worst affected areas such as banning the use of hosepipes in households, car-washing and filling of swimming pools. The reduction of water scarcity is an ongoing goal of France and other countries such as Somalia, Mauritania, and Niger. Today, the United Nations is working to reduce the number of people who cannot access clean water and sanitation. According to their Millennium Declaration, they stated that by 2015, they hope to “halve the portion of people who are unable to reach or afford safe drinking water.”


"France Brings in Water Rationing after Worst Drought for 30 Years." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 10 July 2005. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.

"Water Shortages Threatening France's Nuclear Reactor Complex." Water Shortages Threatening France's Nuclear Reactor Complex. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.

"Eight Radical Solutions for the Water Shortage." BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr.2014

"France Brings in Water Rationing after Worst Drought for 30 Years." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 10 July 2005. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.

"Water Scarcity." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Mar. 2014. Web. 04 Apr. 2014.

"Encyclopedia of the Nations." Environment. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2014








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