Climate activists from the Extinction Rebellion organization last week made hole-punch holes at golf courses in the towns of Vieille-Toulouse and Blagnac, in southern France, Reuters August 14 reported. They claim that this sport is “the entertainment industry of the most privileged”.
France has asked residents to avoid using water for non-essential purposes like watering plants or washing cars, but golf courses are exempt from this restriction for watering lawns. This caused controversy when 100 villages in France lacked drinking water. Activists say this represents “the madness of having economics take precedence over ecology”.
However, golf course operators say the green grass will die in three days without water. “A golf course without grass is like an ice rink without ice,” replied Gerard Rougier, a member of the French Golf Federation. France Infoadding that 15,000 people are working on golf courses across the country.
The water ban is in place across the country, but enforcement is at the discretion of regional authorities. So far, only the Ille-et-Villaine region, western France, has banned watering of golf courses. Some restrictions on golf courses are still in place, like watering must be done at night, with no more than 30% of the usual amount of water.
France is experiencing the worst drought in the country’s history. Rising temperatures cause more water to evaporate in ponds and lakes, lower river levels, and increase irrigation demand ahead of the upcoming crop. Some sections of the Loire have almost dried up. Over two-thirds of France, the highest level of alert has been declared, with rainfall falling by about 85%.
Most local governments in France have ordered restrictions on water use. France’s national meteorological agency, Meteo France, predicts that the situation will not improve in the coming weeks.