After last summer with extreme heat and lack of water, France is suffering from persistent drought in the middle of winter – and there are already fears of a second summer of drought. There has been practically no precipitation for four weeks, and the previous record of 22 days without rain in winter from 1989 has already been broken, the weather service Météo France said. In addition, there would be temperatures that correspond more to March or April, the trigger being a high pressure area stagnating over Western Europe.

The national geological service (BRGM) has already warned that the groundwater level, which dropped in summer, has little chance of replenishing and recovering. The precipitation in autumn was insufficient and by the turn of the year the water levels were well below those of the previous year. According to current data from national water monitoring, 125 of the 422 groundwater areas observed have a very low level, 120 have a low level and 97 have a moderately low level.

It is important, especially in winter, that the groundwater fills up again, said the agricultural meteorologist Serge Zaka on the France Info station. The period from November to March, in which the groundwater fills up again, is crucial. “It depends on what happens throughout the year.” At the moment, the rainfall amounts are not enough to compensate for the drought in 2022. “It’s a time bomb: as soon as the small amounts of water in the soil are used by the plants, the groundwater has to be tapped to irrigate the plants and we will have the same consequences as last year.”