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The river disappearing in drought-hit France

The river disappearing in drought-hit France
Published October 14, 2023 Updated October 14, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

VILLERS-LE-LAC (France) — The once deep and coursing waters of the Doubs river in eastern France have shrunken to a dry bed that locals can cross almost without getting their feet wet.

A confluence of nearly no rainfall and existing geological features are draining the river to the point that boats and docks rest on the dry rocks that used to be underwater.

“When the river is high, we have our feet in the water here,” said 81-year-old Pierre Billod, far above what remains of France’s tenth largest river.

The retired watchmaker recalled that a drought like this “almost never” happened during his lifetime, but admitted there were periods of dryness previously.

The lake where the town Villers-le-Lac derives its name from is nothing more than a memory now. On its grassy bed, one could imagine crossing to Switzerland by foot without getting their feet wet.

On the other side, in the Swiss town Les Brenets, a dock that seemed to have be waiting for water for ages also awaits excursion boats with a sign reading “120 places”.

“Its weird, it makes me sad. It’s worrying,” said Mr Sebastien Arcidiacona, who believes the drought is tied to global warming. “It would be silly to deny it,” he added.While it can be hard to attribute a particular weather event to climate change, scientists insist human-linked global warming is responsible for more frequent and intense extreme weather.