Drought: what solution in case of water withdrawal restrictions for industrialists?
This year, France is facing an unprecedented episode of winter drought, foreshadowing future periods of insufficient water resources. How can water-dependent industries preserve their activity in the likely context of future restrictions?
Before even the presentation of the "Water Plan" scheduled in march, Christophe Béchu - Minister of the Ecological Transition - asked on February 27 the basin coordinating prefects to take all the measures they deem necessary in order to anticipate future crises during the summer.
As they are facing the lack of rainfall and premature drying of the soil, the Minister urged prefects not to be "shaky-handed" when it comes to the implementation of restriction orders.
Indeed, periods of drought are known to favour the increase in pollution, since the contaminating substances are less diluted in water. In such conditions, particular attention is not only paid to the amount of water used, but also to the effluents' quality.
Industries whose production is heavily reliant on the use of large quantities of water may see their activity strongly impacted by reductions or, in the worst-case scenario, strict bans on withdrawals.
In this context, continuous and real-time monitoring of the effluents that are discharged in the natural environment and their quality is a decisive element for the continuation of the activity.
This is what TIL (Teintures et Impressions de Lyon, a textile printing company based in Lyon) experienced last summer.
Only a few months after acquiring a water biomonitoring station, the company was prohibited from using the Saône's ground water.
Worried about having to put its hundreds of employees out of work, the company's directors submitted to the Prefecture documentation stating that 70% of the water discharged into the natural environment is being continuously monitored by ToxMate. The presence of micropollutants is thus considerably reduced, and any changes lead to an alert being sent out two to ten minutes after the contamination, allowing the implementation of immediate measures.
TIL obtained, in part thanks to ToxMate, an exceptional authorization to use the ground water, allowing the company to continue its activity and preserve its jobs.
The contribution of the ToxMate station at TIL in pictures