ROME, JULY 5 2022 – Premier Mario Draghi’s government on Monday declared a state of emergency for drought in five northern Italian regions – Lombardy, Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont, Friuli Venezia Giulia, and Veneto.
The government has set aside 36 million euros for these regions and is set to appoint a special commissioner with extraordinary powers to tackle the crisis and address issues regarding Italy’s water infrastructure.
Water levels in the River Po are three-quarters down in the worst drought in 70 years and the emergency is causing massive problems for agriculture, with farmers’ groups saying output is set to fall by about a third.
The drought emergency is spreading from the north to central Italy, the water observatory ANBI said Thursday, with the levels of the Arno, Aniene, and Tiber more than halfway down.
The current heat wave has exacerbated the nation’s drought crisis that comes after months of low rainfall and extremely dry winter.
Italy’s civil protection department has failed to rule out water rationing during the day because of the drought.
Restrictions on the use of water have already been imposed in some areas and many towns are having to have water brought in by trucks.
In some, water is being closed off completely at night.
More frequent and intense heat waves are among the consequences of human-caused climate change, scientists say.