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Nowadays, the economical, rigorous and transparent management of water resources has become a national priority, focusing on the supply of drinking water and the protection of the natural environment, as reflected by recent heat waves and droughts. The Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Spatial Planning is in charge of coordinating this policy.
In order to be efficient, this management requires the anticipated implementation of a global system under the authority of the Prefects and mobilising all water consumers and users as well as all monitoring services.
With regard to industrial installations, the legislation on classified installations makes it possible to:

In 2002, water withdrawal in France was estimated at 33.1 billion m3.

UsagesDrinking waterIndustryIrrigationEnergy production
Volumes withdrawn in billion m3 6.3 3.8 4.5 18.5
Relative share % 19% 12% 14% 55%

However, part of this water is returned into the natural environment: thus, over 50% of the water withdrawn is used for the cooling of thermal and nuclear power plants, while only 20% is actually consumed by this sector. Conversely, agriculture only withdraws 14% of the volume but represents more than half of the volumes consumed. (Source: IFEN)