Thousands of undeclared swimming pools have been discovered in France using AI.

A pilot scheme developed by Google and Information technology multinational, Capgemini, used AI to identify more than 20,000 ‘hidden’ swimming pools across nine French regions.

Swimming pools are taxed under French law, and must be declared, as they can boost property prices. Tax officials now say the technology could be rolled out nationwide in a bid to recover lost revenues.

The findings also come at a time when there is greater discussion over the country’s relationship with water given France’s worst recorded drought in history where more than a hundred municipalities have stated they are short of drinking water.

Speaking on BFMTV, Julien Bayou, of France’s Europe-Ecology Greens party, said: “The challenge is not to ban swimming pools, it is to guarantee our vital water needs,” adding that any ban would be a last resort.

The AI software was developed in order to identify pools where none had been declared and the results have brought in around €10m (~£8.5m) in missing tax revenue since the trial in October 2021. An average sized pool attracts around €200 in tax per year.

It is thought the software could be expanded to include undeclared extensions, patios, gazebos or verandas.