The "vigilance phase" for the use of drinking water, which was proclaimed by the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development and the Water management agency on 13 July, is lifted. The "awareness phase" remains in force.
Why? After the vigilance phase came into effect, consumption actually decreased. On 29 July, with the start of the collective leave period, another significant drop in consumption was observed, despite the ongoing very high temperatures. At present, actual consumption no longer justifies maintaining the vigilance phase at national level. Depending on the evolution of the weather and consumption in the coming weeks and on the local situation, restrictions may apply and it is not excluded that orange phases will be declared at communal level.
The call to the public to limit drinking water consumption as much as possible and to avoid wastage remains valid. Furthermore, it is recalled that all surface water abstraction remains prohibited, even those covered by an authorisation.
Worrying situation for watercourses
Currently, the situation regarding water flows is worrying. Indeed, low rainfall and dry weather could lead to absolute minimum flows in Luxembourg's rivers.
To assess the impact of the drought on our rivers, we rely on several measurements. Some critical thresholds were reached in 2022 - three weeks earlier than in 2020, which means that historic low values will potentially be reached.
The impact of drought on rivers
Low flows in our rivers can lead to critical minima for the survival of riverine fauna and flora.
With decreasing flows, the concentration of pollutant loads in the water increases, as the dilution effect is reduced. At the same time, lower flows also mean that water temperatures reach critical thresholds for the survival of aquatic organisms more quickly, as there is less dissolved oxygen in the water with higher temperatures. As a result of these two concomitant factors, the quality of the water is deteriorating significantly. It follows that any further withdrawal of water becomes detrimental to the survival of aquatic organisms and should be avoided.
In view of the current low water situation in rivers, the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development and the Water management agency reiterate the ban on all water abstraction from surface waters.
Press release by the Ministry of the Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development / Water management agency