Following the driest winter since 1959, France has declared a drought

In southwest France on February 21, 2023, two people walk their dogs close to the partially dry Lake Montbel

Following the driest winter in more than 60 years, France is under drought restrictions.

The nation has been in a state of alert for the past month due to the lack of significant rainfall.

According to Ecological Transition Minister Christophe Béchu, local prefects will gather on Monday to assess the situation "territory by territory.".

The national weather service Météo-France claims that last year was the hottest year on record in France.

Records were broken in the UK, Spain, and Italy, among other countries in Europe.

Many regions are still suffering from droughts brought on by the high temperatures.

Researchers have discovered a 53% decrease in snowfall in the Italian Alps and a 61 percent decrease in water levels in the Po basin of Italy's largest river.

Due to the 2022 drought, a state of emergency was proclaimed last July in five northern regions near the River Po. Low tides in Venice have made it difficult for gondolas and water taxis to navigate the muddy canals, and the Grand Canal's building foundations have become more visible.

According to a report released by Nature Climate Change last month, the Alps, Europe's most crucial mountain range for supplying rivers, had experienced a 5 point 6 percent decrease in snow cover duration per decade over the previous 50 years.

A gondola is pictured in a canal during a severe low tide in the lagoon city of Venice, Italy, February 17, 2023
Water taxis and gondolas in Venice have been grounded due to low tide.

Water crises, which experts predict will occur more frequently as a result of climate change, have been complicated by the drought in Italy.

The government has been urged to adopt a national water strategy by the Italian environmental group Legambiente. Director Giorgio Zampetti stated that even though 2023 has only just started, it is already exhibiting alarming signs regarding the frequency and severity of extreme weather events.

In France, the minister of ecological transition suggested that "soft" restrictions might be put in place following next Monday's meeting with local authorities, to go into effect in March and prevent "catastrophic conditions" during the summer.

According to Météo-France, there was zero precipitation between 21 January and 21 February, with a cumulative total of less than 1mm for all of France.

A time period deemed essential for replenishing France's groundwater reserves also saw significantly less snowfall in the Pyrenees and Alps than usual.

The next three months would be crucial, according to the agency, and rain was anticipated to return to southern France on Wednesday.

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