watering golf courses or city plants, the choice that annoys mayors

France is dry. While a new heat wave is underway, 93 of France’s 96 departments are on drought alert and 57 of them are even in a “crisis” situation – the highest threshold -, according to the latest government data. . Consequently, the French are called upon to reduce their water consumption.

It is the prefectures that order restrictions, through decrees, based on the “minimum” measures of a national guide from the Ministry of Ecological Transition. In consultation with water management stakeholders, however, they can locally enact additional or stricter rules. But some elected officials do not hide their dismay at the successful choices.

Preserve green spaces

In the most affected departments, the watering of municipal green spaces is thus very limited. In Valbonne, a small town in the Alpes-Maritimes under restrictions since the beginning of July, the limitations have a concrete impact on the vegetation: “ We have dead leaves everywhere, it feels like fall “, regretted the director of technical services and the environment of the commune, at the end of July, at the microphone of France 3 PACA. ” Plants preferred. We will have losses, that’s for sure! »

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In Valence (Drôme), the watering of green spaces is prohibited, but the mayor LR Nicolas Daragon has decided not to respect the rule. ” These trees are those of all Valentinois. Some of them have no garden and no air conditioning. When they want to cool down, they go to a park or a square “, justifies the city councilor at the microphone of franceinfo. And to add: In front of us, there is the department of Ardèche which is not in drought crisis level and which draws water from the same river as us, the Rhône. So there is a small part of incomprehension in the severity of this decree. »

For Guillaume Martin, energy and climate engineer, requested by Mariannethe usefulness of these measures is nevertheless real and ” it will be difficult to put in place restrictions on collective use if the representatives of the State do not play the game “. According to him, the treatment of green spaces must be completely rethought, in the light of the climatic context: “ Many lawns are too regularly or just before heat waves. It is quite possible to maintain areas of freshness without watering every evening in times of crisis. We must anticipate, adapt the choice of species, as well as planting and cultivation techniques. »

“Class ecology? »

If the existence of certain provisions is irritating, the absence of others is just as irritating…” In the anti-drought decrees, there is an exemption to allow the golf greens to be watered! While we call for sobriety, the practices of the wealthy are protected “, had lamented the EELV mayor of Grenoble, Éric Piolle, Saturday July 30 on BFM TV.

A criticism quickly taken up by elected officials of Nupes, who also denounce a privilege with regard to the wealthiest. ” In times of drought, it is forbidden to fill the swimming pools, but the golf courses must only reduce their consumption by 20% and water between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. An 18-hole course needs 5,000 m3/day, or the consumption of 12,000 inhabitants. What if we banned them too? “, suggests on Twitter the deputy of Bouches-du-Rhône Hendrik Davi. ” I don’t think you’ll find a better illustration of class ecology today. “, continues the deputy of Seine-Maritime and environmental activist Alma Dufour.

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In fact, the restrictions for golf courses vary according to the departments, even if in the event of severe drought, watering at a minimum of green vegetables and leading spaces are indeed tolerated. ” If a golf course has no more, it can go out of business, because the very essence of the game disappears », Explains a professional in the sector in the columns of the Telegram. It should be noted that unlike amateur football pitches, which are the responsibility of associations and therefore of voluntary staff, the golf industry has some 5,200 employees, according to a 2021 report led by the Joint National Employment and Training Commission (CNPEF ). The economic argument therefore seems to prevail in this specific case.

But for Guillaume Martin, it is above all the size” symbolic » which shocks in this right pass. ” To think that we will potentially pay more for our food because of the droughts and their impact on the agricultural sector, and that at the same time, we preferred to play golf… Of course, that raises questions “, releases the engineer, judging that these debates are above all “ symptomatic “of a society that has” unaware of the extent of global warming “.

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