Dramatic drought in Italy: Verona is rationing drinking water consumption because of the persistent drought in Italy. The mayor of the city signed an ordinance due to the weather conditions and their consequences for the water supply.
It is therefore prohibited until August 31st to use drinking water to irrigate gardens and sports facilities, to wash cars and to fill swimming pools. Failure to comply with the ban could result in a fine of up to 500 euros.
Similar measures have already been enacted in other cities in Italy; Verona is the largest city so far.
Like other European countries, Italy has suffered from an unusual heat wave in recent weeks, while there has been no rain at the same time. The agriculturally important Po Valley in northern Italy is experiencing its worst drought in 70 years. According to the country’s largest farmers’ association, Coldiretti, the drought is threatening more than 30 percent of the country’s agricultural production and half of the Po Valley’s livestock. Parma ham is mainly produced there.
The water level of Lake Maggiore and Lake Garda is significantly lower than usual for this time of year. The Tiber, which flows through Rome, also has low water.
Another consequence of the drought: Electricity generation from hydropower fell significantly. Hydroelectric power plants are mainly found in the mountains in the north of the country. They typically provide almost a fifth of the electricity needed in Italy.
The drought situation on Italy’s longest river, the Po, is also getting worse. The river is very dry in some places. Because of the low water level, salt water penetrated the riverbed at the mouth of the Adriatic Sea up to 30 kilometers inland. The Po River Observatory therefore recommends taking even less water from the stream and instead tapping into large lakes such as Lake Maggiore, Lake Como and Lake Garda.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced measures by Rome to deal with the drought on Thursday evening. From Monday the government will take care of emergency plans in the affected parts of the country. The regions, especially in the north, have been demanding this for weeks. Draghi also pointed out structural problems: the country’s water reservoirs and pipes are in such a dilapidated condition that 30 percent of the water is lost in them.
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