March 27, 2023
Antoine Gyori – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images Against drought, Christophe Béchu wants his “ecowatt” of water

Antoine Gyori – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Against drought, Christophe Béchu wants his “ecowatt” of water

POLICY – The toll-free numbers are now banished, it’s the apps rush. After “Tous Anti Covid” during the health crisis and “Ecowatt” to take stock of electricity shortage risksthe Minister for the Ecological Transition indicates that he is working on a similar system to combat water shortages.

In an interview at Parisian Tuesday, January 24, Christophe Béchu believes that“there will be a before and an after the summer of 2022”where France has been confronted head-on with the consequences of global warmingbetween heat wave, forest fires and dry rivers. “Almost all departments have been affected by restrictive measures and 700 municipalities have experienced drinking water supply difficulties”specifies the Minister of Ecological Transition.

To limit the damage of such a drought, it therefore relies in part on everyone’s goodwill. With his teams, he says “Advance on a form of ‘Ecowatt’ of water, on which we will find the state of the tensions in the sector where we are”. The application will also give “simple advice” to limit water consumption “because many French people are ready to act. »

As a reminder, the Ecowatt application was set up by the government during the fall to anticipate drops in electricity, identify the areas concerned and encourage behavior change.

“You have to get used to the end of abundance, including for water”

“We lack an information device in real time and at a precise address via an app or a websiteassures Christophe Béchu. As this kind of episodes will recur, analyzes must be carried out throughout the year in order to refine the forecasts… and to take restrictions, as soon as they are necessary, well before the start of summer. » He specifies that he is talking about restrictions on time slots rather than on full days.

“In any case, you have to get used to, as the president explained, at the end of abundance, including for water”, insists the Minister. the “first objective” is of “reduce the volume of water withdrawn from our basements by just over 10% by the end of the five-year period. That is a drop of 4 billion cubic meters out of a total of 33 captured each year”he says.

In addition to the call for everyone’s responsibility, the Minister also intends to improve the management of the resource by 2026, by sharing the task between several municipalities and no longer individually. This shared management and better “empowerment of local actors” would allow for example, according to him, to reduce the losses of drinking water in nature caused by defective or dilapidated pipe networks. Depending on the territory, this represents losses of 5 to 70%.

The greater use of wastewater or slightly polluted water is also under study. “Today, an individual cannot supply his toilets with rainwater, he needs drinking water. We can therefore imagine that the regulations will evolve on this point”, evokes Christophe Béchu, without further details.

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