Garden swimming pools are to be banned from sale in a part of southern France over worsening water shortages.

France’s Ecological Transition Minister Christophe Béchu said that Pyrénées-Orientales, which borders Spanish Catalonia, will be officially declared at drought “crisis” level from 10 May.

Bans on car-washing, garden-watering and pool-filling will also kick in from the same date.

“We need to get out of our culture of abundance,” said Mr Bechu.

Explaining why authorities had decided to take the step to ban sales of garden pools, he said: “It is to prevent people from being tempted to do what they are in fact not allowed to do anyway – which is to fill them.

“The Pyrénées-Orientales is a department that has not known a full day of rain in over a year. When you are in a crisis like this, it is really quite simple: it’s drinking water and nothing else.

“Climate change is here and now. We need to get out of our culture of abundance. We need to show far more restraint in how we use the resources we have.”

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