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France Widens Water-Use Restrictions as Dry Conditions Persists

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May 21 (Bloomberg) -- French authorities widened water-use restrictions to 42 of France’s 96 mainland departments as drought conditions persisted in the country, the European Union’s largest agricultural producer.

The number of departments in France with limits and bans on water use as of yesterday had increased from 28 on May 16, according to a statement by the Environmental Ministry published on its website today.

Soils in France’s northern half, where grains, grapes and rapeseed are grown, were the driest in 50 years at the end of April, the Environment Ministry reported this week. The quantity of water stored as mountain snow was “very inferior” to the average from 1995 to 2005 as of May 1, it said.

Meteo France forecasts temperatures higher than 20 degrees Celsius (68 Fahrenheit) for most of France in the coming three days, with some “scattered rain” tomorrow. Temperatures may rise above 30 degrees by the middle of next week with no rain, before the possibility of some slight rain by the end of the week, according to the forecaster.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net.

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