France and parts of England had their driest July on record as a new heat wave approached

France, southern and eastern England had their driest July on record, making already insufficient water resources even scarcer, placing restrictions on both sides of the canal.

In France, where a severe drought has hit farmers and led to widespread restrictions on the use of fresh water, there was only 9.7 mm of rain last month, Meteo France said.

That’s 84% ​​below the average recorded in July since 1991, the agency added, making it the second driest month since March 1961.

Meanwhile, large swathes of southern and eastern parts of England recorded their lowest July rainfall on record, the UK Met Office, which has been collecting records since 1836, said Monday.

The whole of England recorded an average of 23.1 mm of rain – the lowest figure for the month since 1935 and the seventh lowest recorded in July.

Less precipitation in both countries was coupled with a summer that saw an unprecedented rise in temperatures, which topped 40 degrees Celsius in England in July for the first time ever.

Climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that carbon emissions from humans burning fossil fuels are heating the planet, increasing the risks and severity of droughts, heat waves, and other extreme weather events.

An analysis by an international team of researchers, released last Friday, found that human-caused climate change increased the likelihood of the UK’s latest record-breaking heat wave at least 10 times.

Water companies struggle with demand, impose restrictions

Water companies on both sides of the canal are struggling to respond to drought conditions.

Almost all of the 96 mainland French regions have imposed water use restrictions, also a record number.

The country is preparing for a third heat wave this summer, starting in the southeast on Monday before turning north toward Paris.

Farmers across the country have reported difficulties feeding livestock due to dry grasslands, while irrigation has been banned in large areas of the northwest and southeast due to a lack of fresh water.

On the Rhine, which runs along the border between France and Germany, merchant boats have to run at a third of their carrying capacity to avoid hitting the bottom because the water level is so low.

Environment Minister Christophe Picchu said precipitation in July was “only 12% of what is needed”.

“We have a heat wave that increases the need (for water) and the drought limits what is available and pushes us into this vicious circle,” Picchu told BFM television during a visit to the hardest-hit department of Esir in the southeast.

In England, one water provider has announced restrictions so far.

Southern Water, which is responsible for supplies in much of central southern England, will impose restrictions on nearly a million customers from later this week.

But the so-called water hose ban could soon be repeated by other service providers, after a warning from the British government’s Environment Agency that people need to use water “wisely”.

Last week, the agency said most of England had moved into a state of “extended dry weather”.

This means that it is now taking precautionary measures to mitigate the effects “as hydrological conditions deteriorate”.

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