The French River Loire has never been documented as drying up in history. However, the country’s severe drought conditions have permanently altered history. The numerous castles that line the banks of the River Loire are well known. One of the main attractions in the nation is a river with shallow water. However, due to the extreme drought circumstances, travelers are unable to view it in its full splendor.
The Loire enters the Atlantic Ocean to complete its trip. Even 100 kilometers from the final objective, water has been running out. There are sandbanks everywhere. People now simply walk through the dried-up river, but in the past they would use little islands in the river to connect the beaches.
Notably, the Loire Valley is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, drawing visitors from all over the world to its magnificent chateaux, including Chambord, Chenonceau, and Azay-le-Rideau. The drought this year ought to serve as a wake-up call for the populace and the authorities, according to Eric Sauquet, head of hydrology at France’s National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE).
The tributaries of the Loire are entirely dried up, he declared. It is unheard of. We need to be concerned about the Loire. Regarding the aquatic life that inhabits the river, he made note of the fact that low water levels are bad for fish since they lack oxygen and make it simpler for predators to kill the fish. “Fish require water to live, chilly water,” he stated. Their surroundings become smaller as a result of the low water levels, and they become stuck in puddles.
Nuclear plants and the water crisis
On the river’s edge are four nuclear power reactors. In order to guarantee water supply to these plants, which are located in Belleville, Chinon, Dampierre, and Saint-Laurent, France built dams at Naussac and Villerest in the 1980s. These plants, which have a combined capacity of 11.6 Gigawatts, produce a fifth of the power used in France.
Due to the needs of the nuclear plants, the authorities have not released water from the two dams. However, the river’s environment is suffering more harm as a result of the delay in water release.
The country has recently witnessed how destructive Mother Nature can be due to wildfires, torrential rain that wrecked the Paris metro, and storms that swept through southern France. On the other hand, because natural springs have dried up, the settlements in the south have had difficulty arranging water. The locals must rely on the water tankers to provide a steady supply.
It is evident that climate change is happening, according to Sauquet. All users will need to reconsider how they act in relation to water supplies. The nation’s meteorological service, Météo-France, said in its bulletin that July was the driest on record, with only 15% of the usual rainfall for this year’s received.
The drought situation is spreading quickly across Europe
The severe drought is rapidly engulfing Europe. According to a Washington Post article, severe heat waves and wildfires have claimed thousands of lives. Europe is starting to feel the heat of an unprecedented drought as temperatures are at an all-time high.
The temperatures are higher than what is typical for Europe, and there has been less rain than average. The region is currently experiencing the greatest drought in recorded history as long as the current circumstances don’t change. As a result of the lack of water, crops are dying and dried-out soil and vegetation are more likely to catch fire.
Nearly all of Europe is under “warning” conditions from the European Drought Observatory, which include a severe drought and a significant soil moisture deficit. In addition, about 17% of Europe is seeing a drying out or thinning of the vegetation. Due to their inability to obtain the necessary amount of water for their crops, farmers are among those in Europe who are most adversely affected.
According to Andrea Toreti, a senior scientist at the European Drought Observatory, the current drought conditions may be the worst in the last 500 years, according to Sky News. Due to the dry autumn and winter, spring and summer groundwater levels were lower. Climate change that has been “induced by humans” has also raised the temperature.
According to reports, southern Britain, including London, only received 10 to 20% of the typical rainfall during the month of July. The amount of rainfall in certain places was extremely low. Rainfall in London typically amounts to 45 mm, or 1.77 inches, however this time it was only 0.04 inches.
The Netherlands, Italy, and Spain are all experiencing severe water shortages. The experts are concerned about how thin Germany’s rivers, including the Rhine, have gotten. Notably, the cost of moving freight on the Rhine has grown fourfold, and huge vessels crossing the river are now required to carry 30–40% less cargo than they are capable of doing so in order to avoid running aground.
Any disruption to the Rhine ecosystem has an impact on the entire maritime sector across Europe. The analysts predict a GDP decline of up to 0.5 percent for Germany as a result of the shipping obstacles.
Similar issues are plaguing the Po River in Italy, which the country’s prime minister has called the “most acute water catastrophe in 70 years.” Italy issued a state of emergency in five of the worst-affected regions at the beginning of July. Notably, the river’s basin is home to 30% of Italy’s population. AccuWeather claims that the region’s agriculture and fishing industries have suffered as a result of the current weather.
Over three million cattle and six million pigs face increasing challenges as a result of the Po River’s water shortage, which prevents farmers from getting the necessary water supply. The climatic conditions have caused a 30% fall in agricultural output. Above all, the cost of harvesting and steaming has been impacted by the conflict in Ukraine.
Due to lack of water, shrinking reservoirs, low rainfall, and high temperatures, wildfires have become common in Europe. Recently, 10,000 people were evacuated on Thursday in France near Bordeaux after a wildfire broke in the region. Over 1,000 firefighters had to participate in controlling the blaze.