State of emergency in Northern Italy over the worst drought in 70 years

The Italian government has declared a state of emergency in five of the northern regions facing the worst drought in 70 years.

The State of Emergency will apply in Piedmont, Friuli Lomagna, Friuli Venezia Julia, Lombardy and Veneto until 31 December. The government has announced funding of € 36.5 million ($ 39.5 million) to support efforts to tackle water scarcity.

The state of emergency allows authorities to take whatever action they think is necessary to deal with the situation, without going through bureaucratic formalism. This includes measures such as water distribution for businesses and households.

“The state of emergency aims to manage the current situation with extraordinary means and power, with relief and support for the affected people,” a government statement said, according to Reuters. .. Emergency measures cover land adjacent to the basin located on the Po River and the Eastern Alps.

Several municipalities have announced water distribution. In Verona, where 250,000 people live, local governments distribute drinking water. Until August 31, citizens were banned from using drinking water to water gardens, playgrounds, and vegetable fields. The ban also applies to pool filling and car washing.

Similar restrictions are being enforced in Pisa, where about 350,000 people live. In Milan, the decorative fountain has been closed. Droughts are also damaging hydropower, which accounts for almost 20 percent of the country’s total energy production.

Impact on agriculture

The Po River is the largest river in Italy and runs over 400 miles in the northern region. Recently, many parts of the waterway have been depleted.

Farmers complain that Poe’s flow is so weak that seawater seeps inland and destroys crops. Elevated salt levels from seawater pose a risk of crop loss and desertification.

For the past four months, there has been little rain in the Po Valley region, which accounts for about 40% of the country’s food. The Po river is now 7 meters below average. Farmers are trying to deal with the water crisis, but they are mostly pessimistic about this issue.

“The future of the harvest is uncertain. What is certain is that if this drought continues, it will cause enormous damage,” said Giovanni Dagetta, owner of a 325-hectare rice farm in Pavia. Euronews.. “For now, irrigation is the main problem. To water the fields, we had to use very expensive water pumps.”

Droughts in the Po Valley endanger more than 30% of Italy’s agricultural production, according to estimates by the National Confederation of Direct Farmers (Coldiretti).

Naveen Athrappully


Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter on business and global events in The Epoch Times.