In golf, watering other than the green is prohibited. In a cornfield, it is forbidden to water abundantly. The green Yvelines, to the west of Paris, have been overtaken by the drought which is hitting mainland France and part of it has just been classified as “crisis situation“.
On Friday, it was time to check compliance with water use restrictions.
A drastic change in classification
“There, it’s a bit brutal, because we went from level 1 to 4», resigns Sébastien Garzon, director of the majestic golf course of more than 100 hectares of the castle of Rochefort. For the Vallée de Chevreuse, where it is located, the prefect of Yvelines issued an order on July 28 to place in “crisis» the area so far under «vigilance», without going through the boxes «to alert” and “heightened alert“. “These bans take into account the state of rivers, groundwater, Météo-France data, medium-term statistics“, enumerates Alain Tuffery, deputy director at the departmental direction of the territories (DDT).
A change in classification is accompanied by coercive measures, in particular for golf courses which are now prohibited from watering anything other than their greens and again, with “a water volume delimitation“And at night, explains to AFP the head of the DDT. With the sub-prefect Florence Ghilbert, he accompanies this Friday the environmental police of the French Office for Biodiversity which carries out control and awareness in golf courses, sports stadiums, equestrian centers, washing stations, agricultural areas and residential… Sébastien Garzon complies with good grace, he who claims to have reduced the water consumption of the golf course by 70% since the decree. “We are thinking about the future (…), to plant grasses that are much more resistant to climatic conditions“. Investments “spend“but necessary”if we want to resist in time“, projects the manager.
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Garden “flat“and lawn”yellow»
On the restaurant terrace, overlooking the green, Benoît Salaün has a coffee in the shade. “My garden is flat, my lawn is yellow but we deal with itlaughs this 54-year-old company director. “This year, the situation in the Yvelines is a reflection of what is happening in France“, estimates with AFP the sub-prefect of the district of Rambouillet, Florence Ghilbert, recalling that the Prime Minister activated Friday an interministerial crisis unit while a hundred municipalities in France no longer have potable water.
In total in France, 93 departments out of 96 are subject to water restrictions to varying degrees and 62 are “in crisis“. “So far preserved», the Yvelines could not resist the lack of rain this winter and «in extreme heat waves“, Details the sub-prefect. This year, the water resources committee met several times under the leadership of the State in order to “to attract the attention of all those who have significant uses of water“. Ten days after the decree, the checks begin, explains Florence Ghilbert.
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In Saint-Arnoult-en-Yvelines, in a washing station near a supermarket, traces of water still shine on the pitches. “We see that the station has been used recentlysays Cécile Grimaldi, environmental inspector at the OFB. Or, “in crisis“, only vehicles with health implications (SAMU, firefighters, etc.) are authorized to use them. Corn “about not going to verbalize» users who clean their vehicle in good faith, thinking that in a washing station, it is authorized, explains Johanna Van Herrenthals, head of service at the Ile-de-France regional office of the OFB. The agents remain attentive to specific needs, such as those of equestrian centers where managers “are obliged to preserve the materials (the floors, editor’s note) so that the horses do not break their legs“, explains Cécile Grimaldi.
Ditto for agriculture, significant in the Yvelines with its large cereal plains. Thus, the drop by drop remains authorized but not the large sprinklings, explains a DDT agent in front of a corn field. Offenders risk a fine of up to 1500 euros for individuals, 7000 euros for professionals.
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