On Wednesday, the water from the public network was declared undrinkable for at least 48 hours in this station in the Vosges. Victim of a drought of exceptional magnitude and precocity, the city is now forced to draw water from its famous lake, which must still be carefully analyzed before being declared fit for consumption.

The 33-year-old manager assures her: “this is the first time we have seen such a situation”. On the tables of his establishment, bottles of mineral water bloom under a scorching sun and stifling temperatures which reached 34°C on Wednesday.

The successive waves of heat wave and the meager rainfall have got the better of the springs and the water table of Ramberchamp which usually supply the city. Their levels “are at their lowest today”, “insufficient for us to be able to pump in”, explains the mayor (PS), Stessy Speissmann.

– “Extreme situations” –

The situation is not new, Gérardmer has already had to draw from its lake for “a few days” in 2015 and 2020, and “more importantly in 2003”, remembers the city councilor, but these are now “extreme situations “.

“We have never seen this situation so early in the year”, worries Stessy Speissmann in front of the dry bed of the Jamagne which can usually reach 60 cm deep. The level of the lake having dropped by “17 cm for a month”, this “outlet” stream, a sort of overflow from the body of water, is now dry.

During the ski season, if Gérardmer still experiences negative temperatures and snow, mild spells of “two or three days” are more and more frequent. And now, the summer drought…

The mayor does not hide his concern, convinced that these episodes are bound to “recur” frequently in this resort which triples its population in the summer, going from 8,000 to more than 25,000 inhabitants.

He therefore calls on tourists to be vigilant and to respect the restrictive measures he took by municipal decree at the end of July, because “it is not because we see the enormous mass of water that is the lake that there are no water problems”, he insists. On the beaches of the lake, the public showers have been closed. And on the shores, residents and vacationers are prohibited from filling their swimming pools and spas.

– Very nice season –

A concern shared by Michel Chanteperdrix, renter of pedal boats and electric boats. If the tourists are there and the activity is running at full capacity for this “very beautiful season”, he wonders how to adapt his activity to the fluctuations in the level of the lake.

Its pontoon on stilts emerges outrageously. And as the weather forecast does not announce a drop of rain for the next two weeks, “we will still lose 10 to 15 cm”, he fears. The pedal boats that are still floating in a few centimeters of water near the beach could well end up stranded on the sand.

Michel Chanteperdrix is ​​thinking of installing a floating pontoon in order to adapt to these increasingly marked and worrying fluctuations in the level of the lake.

In the meantime, the water has never been “so good”, rejoices, like other swimmers, Anne-Laure Vogel, 39, who grew up in the Vosges and remembers the quick swims of her childhood in a chilly water.

Now residing in the Vaucluse, she returned this summer with her family to her native region to “seek freshness”. “But we’re still hot,” she remarks. From the beach, she watches her three young children who have been playing in the water for “more than an hour”: “not even cold!”.