Italy faces the worst drought in 70 years, forcing the Italian Cabinet to declare a state of emergency in five regions of northern Italy until the end of this year. it was done. It also announced $ 39.5 million in emergency funding to help those affected by the worsening drought.
The heat and lack of rain experienced, especially in the Po Valley, not only depletes rivers, but also raises serious concerns in the agricultural sector, which is usually one of the country's breadbaskets.
Meuccio Berselli is the secretary general of the district authorities in the Po Valley.
He states, "This is a perfect storm, with less than 70% of winter snow, four months of rain shortages, and temperatures 3-4 degrees above the seasonal average."
The Po River, Italy's largest source of freshwater, is as essential for irrigation as any other Italian waterway. The Arno, Aniene and Tiber rivers are much less watered this summer, raising concerns about crops. The same is true in other areas. The water level of the lake is also low this year.
According to the Italian National Research Council, rainfall this year is half the average for the last three decades and up to 60% less in the northern region.
Italy's largest agricultural union, Cordilletti, warns that drought threatens 30-40% of seasonal harvests and half of livestock in the Po Valley, a situation elsewhere. It may also spread to.
Climate change and food insecurity are of increasing concern worldwide and are constantly being discussed at high-level international conferences.
The war in Ukraine also raised concerns about new food shortages. "Climate change will get worse and more wars and conflicts will occur," said Sophie Miller, a bystander at the recent maritime conference in Lisbon and an activist for the group Ocean Rebellion.
In this scenario, the early drought of this summer in Italy is an additional problem. Special measures have been taken in various regions. This includes closing decorative fountains and limiting the use of water to only the essential use of drinking water. It is banned from use in irrigating soccer fields and golf courses, and cleaning cars and streets.
Civil Protection Director Fabrizio Crusio said that in some areas water rations could also lead to temporary closures. He added that he pays close attention to changes in temperature and water level, even during the day. Authorities have not ruled out the need to declare an emergency not only in the north, but in other parts of Italy.