“Since Monday, we have had five trucks a day which come to inject water into the water treatment plant of the community of communes”, explains Pierre Ignace, the mayor of Mur-de-Barrez, a picturesque village of 800 inhabitants. , where holidaymakers flock in August, in particular Aveyronnais from Paris.

The level of the Siniq, the only watercourse to feed the basin, is at its lowest. Its flow greatly exceeded 100 meters/second in 2021, it fell to 30 m/s this week.

Semi-trailer trucks follow one another at the water treatment center near the village of Thérondels, brand new and lined with solar panels to ensure energy autonomy.

– Peak consumption –

In about thirty minutes, the 28 m3 from the tank are dumped into the station’s reservoir, “in the hope that this will allow the consumption peak of August 15 to be overcome. This is the solution we have found to avoid cut off the running water, and not come to the distribution of bottles of water to the inhabitants”, confides the mayor.

The mayors have called on residents of Carladez to reduce water consumption. The effect was immediate. It went from 2,000 to 1,200 m3 per day.

“We are careful, we don’t water, we don’t wash cars, we use as little water as possible. Everyone makes an effort”, testifies Catherine Lafortune, 67, who came to spend her holidays in her house in Mur-de-Barrez family.

The Natura aquatic center, with its swimming pools and slides, very popular during the summer but too greedy in water (10 m3/day), was closed at the end of July.

“It’s a complicated summer, continues the mayor. In addition, the Sarrans lake is prohibited for swimming due to a bacterium linked to high temperatures. It’s a double penalty, especially for young people”.

“I have a borehole, but I don’t use it, water is the common good. We have to learn to live with less water”, launches the owner of the Barrez inn, Uri Pinchas- Naor, who grew up in Israel, where “every drop counts”.

– “Aberrant” – 

The usually green hills of Carladez, a few kilometers from Cantal, have turned yellow under the effects of the drought. The last rains date back to June. In the pastures, the cows seek shade or lie down in the grass, overwhelmed by the heat.

“The cows are tired, it’s very hard for the animals, they produce less milk. We still have a little grass, but it’s worrying”, confides Daniel Prunet, breeder of a hundred Browns, near of Mur-de-Barrez.

“We have made less grass than in other years, we will soon have to attack the stock of grass planned for the winter, we will run out of food for the animals in 2023”, warns the farmer, favorable to lakes hills (water reserves) to store it during the winter, in order to cope with periods of drought.

The young mayor of Mur-de-Barrez wonders. “Hill lakes? Recovery of rainwater? Go back to direct management rather than staying with Véolia (the current concessionaire)? In any case, we must rethink the water policy”.

Prior to its commissioning in June 2022, the Thérondels water treatment plant, an investment of 5 million euros, had given rise to disagreements.

“Everyone knew that the flow of the Siniq was not sufficient to supply the Carladez, and that this plant had no future, that it was a risky investment”, storms Jean-François Pagès, one of the elected of the community of communes who had opposed the project.

“We see where it takes us. To fetch water with tanker trucks… It’s a nameless aberration, he denounces, you have to pinch yourself to believe it”.

Annie Cazard, vice-president of the community of municipalities, highlights that “all the experts were in favor of the project, that the State gave the green light and subsidized”.

On Monday, a stock of water bottles was delivered to the community of municipalities, as a precaution. The elected officials hope that they will not have to distribute them.