It will also monitor the impact of the drought on France’s energy production, transport infrastructure and agriculture.
French energy giant EDF said on Friday it had to temporarily cut power production at two of its nuclear plants which use river water to cool reactors. The group warned that at least one more plant could be affected in the coming days due to high temperatures in the Rhone river.
After a 2003 major heatwave, France’s nuclear safety agency, the ASN, set temperature limits at 28 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit) for rivers, beyond which power plants are required to reduce their production in order not to make the water even warmer and preserve the environment. Temporary exceptions allow some plants to raise this limit by a few degrees during “exceptional situations.”
France relies on nuclear energy for some 70% of its electricity, more than any other country.
France now has 62 regions with restrictions on water usage due to the lack of rain.
Depending on local situations, restrictions go from irrigation bans during the warmer hours of the day to using water only for the population, livestock and keeping aquatic species alive.
The minister for ecological transition, Christophe Béchu, said during a visit to southeastern France that more than 100 municipalities are not able to provide drinking water to the tap anymore and need to get supplied by truck.
“The worst the situation is, the more we make drinking water the priority compared to other usages," he said.