Europe 1 with AFP / Photo credit: RIEGER BERTRAND / HEMIS.FR / HEMIS.FR / HEMIS VIA AFP 16:25 pm, May 12, 2023

Faced with the drought that particularly affects the south of the France, the mayor of Châteauneuf-Grasse, in the Alpes-Maritimes, denounced Friday the excess water consumption of some of his VIP citizens. However, he is surprised to be the only mayor of the 24 municipalities of the agglomeration community of Sophia-Antipolis to care.

The mayor of Châteauneuf-Grasse, in the Alpes-Maritimes, denounced Friday to AFP the excess consumption of water, in the middle of drought, of some of his VIP citizens. "When I received the list of the thirty largest consumers of water in the municipality, I realized that there were several large properties that were listed," said Emmanuel Delmotte, without targeting any name.

2,000 m3 of water consumed in one week

According to the statements of the elected to the daily Libération, which revealed the information on Sunday, these individuals, whose properties extend over 20 or 30 hectares, would include "Prime Ministers, kings, ministers, former presidents of the council, especially foreigners". Among them, Silvio Berlusconi, the former head of the Italian government, confirmed the mayor to the newspaper. The period concerned by these surveys is spread over 17 weeks, from April to August 2022: the region was then on drought alert, and prefectural decrees imposed drastic water-saving measures on individuals, particularly in terms of filling swimming pools or watering gardens.

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"During this period, the consumption of some owners has risen to 17,000 m3 of water, or 1,000 m3 per week," denounced the mayor, comparing with the "barely 2,000 m3" of the communal retirement home and its 120 beds. In some cases, their weekly water consumption has even reached 2,000 m3. And their actual consumption was probably higher, some having private drilling not accounted for, said the elected official.

Only mayor of the 24 municipalities to care

If Albert II, former king of the Belgians, is also on this list of large consumers, it is only on his agricultural green meter, as an olive oil producer in particular, but not for his personal meter or the filling of his swimming pool, insisted Emmanuel Delmotte. Similarly, the former Belgian sovereign assured him that he had repaired the leak on his agricultural pipes. One certainty: "For people like that, fines of 1,500 or 3,000 euros are useless," says the mayor. Hence the idea, in conjunction with the local water management delegate, the Suez group, to discuss directly with these large water consumers, to reason with them.

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"We will see if these efforts bear fruit," hopes Emmanuel Delmotte, surprised to have been the only mayor of the 24 municipalities of the agglomeration community of Sophia-Antipolis to have spoken on the subject: "The list of all major consumers was sent to us, at the request of the prefecture. How come I'm the only one who seems to care?"