The AtlanticThe Atlantic

French people are fighting over giant pools of water

By Marion Renault

07 Jun 2023 · 6 min read

informed Summary

  1. France is building "mega-basins" to store groundwater as a response to increasing droughts, but critics argue this is a maladaptation and not a sustainable solution.

These are not your average reservoirs.

The plastic-lined cavities span, on average, 20 acres—more than 15 American football fields. Nicknamed “mega-basins,” they resemble enormous swimming pools scooped into farmland; about 100 basin projects are in the works across France. In wetter winter months, the basins are pumped full of groundwater; during punishing droughts and heat waves, those waters are meant to provide “life insurance” for farmers, who are among the region’s heaviest water users.

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