Temperatures rise as France tackles its worst drought on record

PARIS, Aug 7 (Reuters) – France hit its fourth heat wave this summer on Sunday as the worst drought on record left parched villages without safe drinking water and farmers warned of milk shortages in the winter.

Prime Minister Elizabeth Bourne’s office has set up a crisis team to deal with the drought that has forced many villages to rely on water delivery by truck, state-run utility EDF has informed. (EDF.PA) To prevent nuclear energy production and stressed crops.

Temperatures were expected to reach 37C in the south-west on Sunday before baking hot air swept northwards earlier in the week.

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“This is likely to be a new heat wave,” according to La Châne Meteo, US cable service The Weather Channel.

Meteo France, the national weather agency, said it was the worst drought since records began in 1958 and was expected to intensify until at least the middle of the month. Rainfall averaged less than 1cm across France in July.

This year’s corn harvest is expected to be 18.5% lower than in 2021, the agriculture ministry said, as Europeans brace for higher food prices due to less-than-normal grain exports from Russia and Ukraine.

Meanwhile, drought-induced fodder shortages could mean milk shortages in the coming months, the National Federation of Farmers Unions said.

Nuclear operator EDF last week cut power output at a plant in southwest France due to high river temperatures on the Garonne and issued a rolling warning for reactors along the Rhone river.

Hot weather has exacerbated the utility’s woes, with corrosion problems and extended maintenance at half of its 56 reactors reducing capacity as Europe grapples with an energy crisis.

Almost all of mainland France has water restrictions in place to conserve water, including hosepipe and irrigation bans in many places.

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Reporting by Richard Lough; Editing by Hugh Lawson

Our Standards: Principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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