April 14. 2024. 7:10

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Macron announces water plan to fight droughts

Progressive pricing, savings, and the fight against leaks are all part of the 53 measures in the new water management plan President Emmanuel Macron announced on Thursday to better tackle droughts.

Macron announced his plan in Savines-le-Lac (Hautes-Alpes) to “prepare for next summer.”

“The objective of the plan must be to guarantee all French people access to quality drinking water for essential needs,” said Macron.

In his plan, the French president also announces a “progressive water pricing system” to encourage a reduction in consumption and reduce “comfort” usage without increasing the price of water for the first few cubic metres, which are essential for daily life.

Besides the target of saving 10% of water across all sectors by 2030 – with work towards that goal beginning this summer, Macron also wants to reuse wastewater and tackle the one in five litres lost through leaks in the French water network.

“Today in France, less than 1% of wastewater is reprocessed for reuse. This is 10 to 15, 20 times less than some of the best comparable countries in the world,” the president said.

The president also promised to increase budgets for public water agencies by €500 million a year.

The French government is also proposing to create a tool that will provide households with real-time information on their water consumption levels and suggest good practices.

The aim is to “make everyone aware of their responsibilities” and make people understand that “every action counts”, the president added.

Macron’s announcement was quickly criticised, however.

The Secretary General of Europe-Ecologie-Les-Verts Marine Tondelier criticised the president for not tackling the causes of the problem and for barely involving youth and civil society in developing the plan in an interview with France Info.

The plan was announced less than a week after protesters and police violently clashed in western France during a demonstration against water supplies for agriculture.

“The rule is the sharing” of water, the president recalled when referring to the events.

(Hugo Struna | EURACTIV.fr)