At the tourist office overlooking the pier, Stéphanie, after having advised hiking trails, explains the situation to a couple from Vendée.

“We would have reservations a priori to hold out until August 15, but be careful: we ask to take very quick showers, we don’t water…”, she said to the two travelers, explaining to them that the island is not had not experienced such a situation since 1976 and 2003.

At the beginning of June, the entirety of this island located 5 km from the harbor of Lorient, which has 2,300 inhabitants over 15 km2, was placed by the Morbihan prefecture in a “crisis” situation, i.e. the highest level of gravity in case of drought.

On the windshield of his car, Bruno Del Din, who works in the building, leaves visible the leaflet “Shortage of drinking water in Groix, let’s be vigilant”, which was even distributed in the polling stations.

“We have very large flows on the island, on weekends, during the day, it will increase until the summer period, we must take the side of informing people very early”, argues the islander.

Among the recommendations listed: “I take my shower in 5 minutes maximum”, “I turn off the water while washing dishes and brushing my teeth”, “I only use the dishwasher and the washing machine at full load”.

While some Breton islands have a pipeline with the mainland (Bréhat, Batz) or a desalination plant (Sein), Groix uses four boreholes and a dam for its drinking water, the level of which has crossed the crisis threshold.

“The water shortage has been felt since January. This year it’s really very dry”, observes Victor Da Silva, municipal councilor (opposition), pointing to the Port-Melin dam which was built in the 1960s by Portuguese immigrants, including his stepfather.

“An economical shower head consumes 6 L of water per minute while a conventional one is 15 L, people who rent a property have to think about that”, he said while the population of “the island of garnets “could reach 8,000 people during the summer.

– “sacrificed cultures” –

In the village, where a tuna appears in place of the rooster on the church weather vane in homage to the fish that made the fortune of the place, Mayor Dominique Yvon believes that the “situation is not catastrophic, but could become so” .

“We have planned all the solutions, even limiting the arrival on the island of people, it can also happen but it would be an extreme situation”, he warns, also mentioning the possibility of water cuts.

In addition to prohibiting the watering of vegetable gardens, beach showers or fountains, the water pressure has been reduced at the tap. The installation of a seawater desalination station is also under study, explains the mayor, who calls for good citizenship.

“We can check if the water consumption increases, hour by hour and we have sometimes seen peaks at night with people taking advantage of it… That’s very French,” he sighs.

Denis Bredin, director of the Ponant islands association, points to an “increase in water consumption while the resource is not increasing” in territories that “make you dream”, where Airbnb-type rentals have multiplied.

“We always have this image of hyper-watered islands, in years we can have not terrible summers, but it rains very little there”, he argues, stressing that the annual rainfall of Groix (732 mm) was lower than that of Croatian islands.

Next to a field, farmers also express their concern. “We make sacrifices in relation to certain crops, we favor greenhouses because they give us the most income. We had to make choices,” says Guénolé Rousseau, 43.