The drought in parts of France is so bad right now that some authorities have banned new home-building projectsâfor the next four years. Despite aÂ severe housing shortage in France, new homes just arenât worth the drain on water resources that construction, and eventual new residents, would cause, sayÂ nine communes in the south of the country.Â
Itâs just one ofÂ many signs that Europe is running dry. âWhat we are looking at is something like a multiyear drought,â says Rohini Kumar of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Germany. Unusually low rainfall and snowfall was recorded this winter not just in France but also in the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, and parts of Italy and Germany. The current predicament follows European droughts in 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2022.
Last summer, droughtÂ exacerbated by record temperatures around the continentÂ was in the headlines. The subsequent dry winter has meant that many aquifersâplaces underground that retain waterâand surface reservoirs have not had a chance to recover. Now, summer beckons once again, and experts who spoke to WIRED are worried that a severe water shortage could threaten lives, industry, and biodiversity in a big way.