Foreign PolicyForeign Policy

France’s water war has no end in sight

By Michele Barbero

25 Sep 2023 · 5 min read

informed Summary

  1. In France, a water war is escalating due to the use of artificial reservoirs for irrigation. These reservoirs are criticized for depleting groundwater resources for the benefit of a few large producers. This conflict is part of a global trend as climate change intensifies water scarcity.

As France grapples with soaring temperatures and ever more ruinous droughts, a full-blown water war is unfolding in the country, with heavy clashes, injuries, and arrests.

Tensions are running high over the use of giant artificial reservoirs for irrigation, which some farmers rely on to cope with water scarcity but which critics say are making the problem worse, accelerating the depletion of limited groundwater resources for the benefit of only a handful of big producers.

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