French activists fill holes with cement in protest against watering exemptions

Aug 14 (Reuters) – Climate activists affiliated with Extinction Rebellion have targeted golf courses in the south of France, filling holes with concrete to protest against exemptions from water restrictions during one of the worst droughts never recorded.

France has told residents to avoid non-essential water use like washing cars and watering gardens. However, activists complain that golf courses are allowed to continue watering greens.

The protest action took place at the Vieille-Toulouse club and also on the course of the Garonne des Sept Deniers.

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Defending their exemption from water restrictions, Gerard Rougier of the French Golf Federation told the France Info news site: “A golf course without a green is like an ice rink without ice.”

Extinction Rebellion Toulouse posted a photo on Twitter apparently showing a golf hole filled with cement and a sign reading “This hole drinks 277,000 liters. You drink that much? #Stop Golf”.

A petition to remove the exemption enjoyed by French golf courses in times of drought said: “Economic madness takes precedence over ecological reason”.

Water bans are enforced at the discretion of regional officials and so far only Ille-et-Villaine in western France had banned the watering of golf courses.

France has been one of the hardest hit by hot and dry conditions across Europe, with firefighters battling a ‘monster’ blaze in the forests of south-west France. Read more

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Reporting by Martyn Herman Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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