Paris 2024 Olympics: the Seine, towards the biggest flop of the Games ? Organizers hanging on the weather

Paris 2024 Olympics: the Seine, towards the biggest flop of the Games ? Organizers hanging on the weather

La “baignabilité” de la Seine, le serpent de mer des JO. MAXPPP – Bruno Levesque

The Seine will not be swimmable at the beginning of July, warns the prefect.

The Seine will still not be swimmable at the beginning of July, less than a month before the start of the Olympic Games (July 26 – August 11) and the events in the Seine which are planned there, warned on Wednesday the prefect of Ile-de-France Marc Guillaume. "The Seine will not be swimmable in a few days", a declared on franceinfo the senior official, highlighting "the flow of the Seine that we have, this morning even more than 480 m3/second".

Opening ceremony rehearsal postponed

This high flow, caused by precipitation at the end of a rainy spring, led to the postponement of a rehearsal of the opening ceremony, which was scheduled for Monday. It then rose to 650 m3/second. A strong flow "mathematically increases the speed of boats" which would currently take "15 minutes of less" on the route, the regional prefecture explained on Friday.

The usual flow in summer is around 100 m3/second. "We have not had weather conditions, for six months, which are very classic", recalled Marc Guillaume, emphasizing that the Bathing Plan carried out for almost a decade by the State and the Ile-de-France communities, with 1.4 billion euros of investment to make the Seine and the Marne swimmable, "is not enough if the weather is autumn or winter".

In case of rain, the cat

The regional prefect intends to swim in the Seine, to set an example, "the day we can". Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who postponed her historic plunge into the Seine due to bad weather and early legislative elections, planned to swim the week of July 15 "or the week after", that of the opening ceremony.

In an interview with Ouest-France on Wednesday, she said " very confident" about the arrival of favorable weather in time for the Olympics. Suspense remains over the holding of the Olympic events since the "test-events" of August 2023 which had to be largely canceled due to insufficient water quality.

In the event of intense precipitation, untreated water – a mixture of rain and wastewater – can be released into the river, a phenomenon that the retention works inaugurated just before the Games are intended to prevent. Plan B consists of postponing the tests for a few days, but not changing location.

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