Emmanuel Macron unveils his “Water plan” in the face of climate change

Emmanuel Macron unveils his Water plan in the face of

The French president presented this Thursday, March 30 the outline of a plan aimed at improving water management in France by 2030 in the face of climate change and the risk of drought.

The “Water plan”, presented by Emmanuel Macron in Savines-Le-Lac, near the dam of Lake Serre-Ponçon (Hautes-Alpes), aims to anticipate a possible drought this summer and to set up a ” planning “ water by 2030.” There’s a dispute, but that doesn’t mean it all has to stop “, To declared the President of the Republic to the press shortly after his arrival by helicopter, anxious to move on than the electric issue of pensions while responding to the concerns of the French.

“10% water savings in all sectors”

To prevent further water shortages during the summer, Emmanuel Macron announced the establishment by May of a ” ecowatt » water to measure consumption in relation to available resources, as well as a sobriety plan by economic sector (agriculture, industry, etc.).

It is not impossible that we will again have situations of great stress this summer “, he however warned, recalling that a dozen departments were already on heightened alert. This is in particular due to a scorching summer of 2022 marked by multiple forest fires and the driest winter since 1959. 80% of the country’s water tables are currently at low or very low levels, compared to 50% before the drought of 2022, underlined the head of the State.

By 2030, Emmanuel Macron has set the goal of make 10% water savings in all sectors ” and listed the five axes of this water policy: accelerate sobriety, fight against leaks and modernize networks, invest massively in the reuse of wastewater, support agricultural transformation and generalize pricing ” progressive and empowering “. “ The first cubic meters are charged at a modest price, close to the cost price, it corresponds to the water that we all need. Beyond a certain level, the price will be higher, this is normal for comfort consumption “, he explained.

A water issue marked by clashes around water reservoirs

Against the backdrop of the largest freshwater reservoir in Western Europe, Emmanuel Macron defended the installation of basins, which pump water from groundwater during the winter, so that farmers can water their crops in summer. ” The rule is clear: it is not a question of privatizing water “, declared Emmanuel Macron, four days after an environmental rally in Sainte-Soline against these water retention basins, where violent clashes with the police left two protesters in a coma.

The new reservoirs must be included in concerted territorial projects ” And “ conditional on significant and individualized changes in practice, in particular water savings, reduction of pesticides, agricultural transition schemes “, assured the Head of State, adding about Sainte-Soline: “ It is exactly in this logic that the farmers of the whole basin are committed. » « It is obvious that we will have territories where we will have to move towards other cropping patterns “, still noted Emmanuel Macron by promising that all new agricultural facilities will be adapted to the climate of tomorrow “.

In another very consuming sector, the president announced an investment program to adapt nuclear power plants, the third largest consumers of water in France (12%), for their cooling systems.

On the wastewater reusethe President of the Republic wanted to go from 1% of reprocessed water to 10% by 2030, while France is lagging behind in this area compared to its neighbours.

A 10 to 40% decrease in water resources in France

This water management strategy was initially to be presented by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne. But the president, who has made ecology, school and health his next priorities in an attempt to get out of the pension crisis, finally stole the show with a trip announced at the last moment.

Climate experts anticipate a 10% to 40% decrease in water resources, hitherto abundant in the temperate climate of France, in the coming decades.

(with agencies)