France is bracing for a fourth heat wave this summer as the worst drought in the country's history left scorched villages without safe drinking water and farmers warned of an impending winter milk shortage, Reuters reported.
Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne's office has set up a crisis team to deal with a drought that has forced many villages to rely on truckloads of water, prompted state utility EDF to limit nuclear power generation and stressed crops.
The national meteorological agency Meteo France said it was the worst drought since records began in 1958 and the drought is expected to worsen until at least the middle of the month. France averaged less than 1 cm of rain in July.
This year's corn crop is expected to be 18.5% lower than in 2021, the agriculture ministry said.
Meanwhile, forage shortages due to drought mean there could be a shortage of milk in the coming months, the National Federation of Farmers' Unions said.
Nuclear operator EDF cut power at a power plant in southwestern France last week due to high temperatures in the Garonne River and also issued periodic warnings for reactors along the Rhone River.
Hot weather has exacerbated the utility's problems as corrosion problems and lengthy maintenance cuts power to half of the 56 reactors as Europe grapples with an energy crisis.
Water restrictions are in place across almost the entire French mainland to conserve water, including banning hoses and irrigation systems in many places.