NewsWorldDrought: do municipalities have the right to cut off...

Drought: do municipalities have the right to cut off drinking water to preserve resources? – news.fr

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By Briac Trebert Published on 5 Aug 22 at 18:16 Actu See my news Follow this media Whether or not to ban water cuts has animated political debate for years. (Illustration ©Le Pays d’Auge) “More than a hundred municipalities in France today no longer have drinking water”, warned this Friday, August 5, 2022 the Minister for Ecological Transition and Community Cohesion. territories, Christophe Béchu, during a visit to the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Successive heat waves and lack of rain have forced the municipalities concerned to review their water supply, while the whole of metropolitan France is subject to restrictions on the use of water due to drought. The situation is such that in some cases, some municipalities have had to cut off the tap altogether. Last resort, cut off the water from the tap To deal with the situation, deemed “historic” by the government, some communities have recourse to cisterns to be supplied with water, because their reserves are dry, or almost. So they get their supplies from neighbours. The only solution to avoid a shortage of water at the tap of the inhabitants. But in some cases, the municipalities are completely obliged to turn off the tap, which has happened in several municipalities in France, temporarily, as identified by franceinfo . Either to ration consumption and avoid being completely dry. Either for a question of safety, because if the water table is dry, what is sucked up by the pump and comes out at the tap gives cloudy and muddy water, unfit for consumption. See the tweet But turning off the tap water, is that really legal? Actu.fr questioned François Brottes, at the origin of “the Brottes law”, when he was deputy (PS) of Isère and president of the commission of economic affairs. Videos: currently on ActuForbidden to cut off the water, but…Whether or not to ban water cuts has animated the debate for years. The politician had the law of April 15, 2013 adopted, “aimed at preparing for the transition to a sober energy system and containing various provisions on water pricing and wind turbines”. Article 19 simply forbids cutting off the water, even in the event of an unpaid bill. This law was challenged in particular by the Professional Federation of Water Companies (FP2E), which brings together almost all the private companies managing water and sanitation services in France, and by the National Federation of Concessioning Authorities. et Régies (FNCCR), an association of local authorities specializing in local public services for the distribution of electricity, gas, water, sanitation, electronic communications, waste collection and recovery. To sum up, these organizations believed that the “Brottes law” encouraged fraudulent behavior. They did not win. Since the law of François Brottes and its implementing decree of February 2014, water cuts are prohibited in a main residence, regardless of the financial situation of the customers concerned. And justice has extended this prohibition to flow reductions, considering that they have the same consequences as a cut by depriving the inhabitants of normal use of water, an essential element for housing to be qualified as decent. The flow reduction is achieved by installing a “lens” on the water pipe, a device that limits the diameter of the connection of the subscribers concerned. La Saur and Veolia have been condemned several times for this practice. What happens in the event of drought? Can the tap be “legally cut off” as dozens of municipalities have been doing for several weeks? “Jurisprudence will perhaps say so”, answers François Brottes today. The water is unfit for consumption in three municipalities. (©Illustration Fabien Hisbacq – Actu Occitanie) “Access to water, an essential human need” The Constitutional Council was seized in 2015 by the Court of Cassation of a priority question of constitutionality posed for the company Saur . And he had clarified the will of the legislator. “By prohibiting water distributors from interrupting the supply of water to any main residence throughout the year for non-payment of bills, the legislator intended to guarantee the access to water for anyone occupying this residence. By not limiting this prohibition to a period of the year, he wanted to ensure this access for the entire year. By providing that this prohibition is imposed regardless of the situation of the persons holding the contract, it has, as is clear from the preparatory work for the law of 15 April 2013 referred to above, intended to ensure that no person in a situation of precariousness cannot be deprived of water. That the legislator, by guaranteeing in these conditions access to water which meets an essential need of the person, has thus pursued the objective of constitutional value which constitutes the possibility for everyone to have decent housing. , wrote the jurisdiction. “Water merchants could take the opportunity to unravel the law” water in times of drought” the power of mayors. “The uses of water from public and private drinking water networks are strictly reserved for meeting drinking water supply needs. As soon as a prefectural restriction decree has been issued, the mayor of a municipality within the scope of action of this same decree temporarily restricting uses, may decide to issue a municipal decree at least as restrictive as the decree prefectural. At any time, the mayor can thus take general administrative police measures adapted to the localized situation to restrict the use of water, on the basis of health and safety – article L.2212-2 of the General Code Territorial Communities. “Clearly, the risk today, worries François Brottes, is that “on the basis of this broad interpretation of the law, the legislator will take hold of the subject to reduce its scope (on the pretext of drought) and that at that time the water merchants can exert pressure to unravel it…” A subject that could come back to the table, while the question of sharing the uses of water agitates the political class. LFI MP Mathilde Panot thus claimed on Twitter a right to water “enshrined in the Constitution”: “water must first go to life rather than to profits! » Was this article helpful? Note that you can follow Actu in the My Actu space. In one click, after registration, you will find all the news of your favorite cities and brands.

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