Seillans, FRANCE (Reuters) – In Seillans, southern France, age-old stone fountains are empty, and taps in homes are only kept running – up to a strict daily limit – thanks to water trucks, because its natural springs are dry.
As the country, like much of Europe, battles drought and record temperatures, residents of the picturesque village who used to water gardens or fill pans, bathtubs and pools without thinking now have to do thing very differently, said mayor Rene Hugot.
“There are a few clouds once in a while but no water, never any water, not a drop (of rain),” he said as he sat next to a dry fountain.
“We’re getting a little desperate because the situation is not getting better… (So) everyone has reduced their water use.”
Water usage levels are checked every week to ensure all Seillans households are respecting a per-person limit of 150 litres (33 gallons) per day.
Those that don’t get a device fitted to their supply pipe that limits how much water comes out, and how quickly, said Eric Martel, head of water utility facilities for the Fayence area that Seillans is part of.
And for water to reach the village and some others nearby at all, it has to transported in from areas where flows from the network of springs that supplies the region are still strong enough to permit its extraction.
“It’s an exceptional situation,” Martel said, noting that very little rain has fallen there since last autumn.
“What worries us is the coming winter and spring. If we don’t have some rain then, we’ll be in a dramatic situation.”
(Reporting by Eric Gaillard; Writing by Ingrid Melander; editing by John Stonestreet)