Drought in Italy, the Regions and Municipalities with the taps closed before the state of emergency

Mayors who close the fountains, prohibit washing cars and watering orchards and gardens, cut the supply of drinking water from 11 pm to 6 am. the shower areas are cordoned off and the managers of the water parks ask to be able to fill the pools with sea water.

Italy, after months without rainfall and struggling with heat peaks, begins to turn off the taps. Pending the decree on drought, meetings are held in Rome to find a solution and face the summer season which risks aggravating an already dramatic situation.

After the meeting between the head of civil protection Fabrizio Curcio and the regional councilors for the environment with the president of the Conference of the Regions Massimiliano Fedriga, president of Friuli Venezia Giulia, the request for the provision of funds from the NRP for the construction of new reservoirs and to modernize existing plants to “waste less” comes clear from the local administrations.

Everyone agrees, beyond the political parties, to ask the government to issue an ad hoc decree. In the meantime, however, the mayors and the governors themselves are starting to go it alone to avoid running dry.

And while the battle for water begins among some regions, Anbi (the Italian association of basin consortia) provides a picture of the risks of desertification in Italy.

The Regions do it by themselves

The first to take the initiative was Stefano Bonaccinipresident ofEmilia Romagnait is no coincidence that the region that has on its territory the symbol of this water crisis, the Po river. Here the Basin Authority has asked for a 20% drop in withdrawals to continue irrigation and thus complete the harvest. And already all municipalities have been invited to issue ordinances for reduce the use of drinking water in non-essential services, such as washing cars or watering gardens and filling private pools. An initiative that among other things is also taking hold in Tuscany. The mayor of Livorno yesterday also added a penalty ranging from 100 to 500 euros for those caught using drinking water not for domestic purposes.

In Lombardy President Attilio Fontana he asked citizens to “make economical use of water” and after the meeting with the head of civil protection, Curcio commented: “We are experiencing an exceptional situation, of a gravity that has never occurred in recent years”. The Lombardy Agriculture Councilor, Fabio Rolfi announced a table to study the possibilities of recovering wastewater to irrigate the fields. Water supplies are currently almost nil and Confagricoltura is already talking about 2 billion in damage.

Difficult situation in Piedmont one of the regions most affected by drought, where the reservoirs are at historic lows, with an average reduction of 50% and the waters of the Po never so low for 70 years. Not to mention that the mountain springs are registering between 50 and 90% less water flow. The alert concerns 145 municipalities especially in the Novara and Ossola areas, where Lake Maggiore has dropped by one meter.

Giulio Boccaletti: we always look at the tap, never the river

Result? About 10% of the municipalities of Piedmont have issued ordinances to reduce water waste. And yesterday the governor Alberto Cirio has launched an appeal to the government, while that of the Veneto Luca Zaia wrote directly to the Prime Minister Mario Draghi soliciting the declaration of the state of emergency: “With the escalation of drought in recent days, every minute is more and more precious. We cannot wait any longer; the situation must also be tackled with maximum speed by the government”.

Concern for the whole area of ​​the delta of the Po between Veneto and Emilia: less water in the final part of the river means more salt water enters, experts explain, creating problems for the ecosystem and irrigation systems.

I turned off the taps at night

But it is the Trentino to issue one of the most complex ordinances: the mayor of Ronzo-Chienis has drinking water taps closed from 11pm to 6am. In Tesimo, in South Tyrolthe Municipality has banned the use of water for gardens and swimming pools.

Hard to believe then what is happening in Val d’Aosta, where an information campaign for tourists and residents is ready to limit the use of water. The lack of snow – never so little rainfall in the last 60 years – has caused reservoirs and reservoirs to drop. In recent days the first ordinance in La Salle, where the mayor has ordered the rationing of drinking water for non-domestic use.

The battle of the water

In Val d’Aosta the situation is so difficult that he said “no” to Piedmont, which asked for help to avoid damage to agriculture. The governor Erik Lavevaz he was clear with his colleague from Piedmont: “With the snowfields already melted as we were in August and temperatures as high as 4,000 meters, we will all find ourselves having to deal with a significant water shortage”.

“Val d’Aosta at risk with its glaciers, but resources are not enough”

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Therefore Piedmont will have to do it alone. But this is only part of the water battle which is emerging among the territories struggling with drought. Because given the emergency situation, they all tend to keep water resources for themselves in view of months that risk aggravating an already dramatic picture.

Another water battle is raging in the Northeast where the Veneto he had asked the Trentino to increase the scope of the Adige river to irrigate agricultural land

In Tuscanywhere there are levels of alert equal to those of the Northern regions the governor Eugenio Giani is trying to draw up a study to enact a regional law for the construction of new basins, reservoirs and water collection points. The most affected areas are the Maremma, the island of Elba, Versilia and Lunigiana.

It doesn’t get better in the Lazio. The governor Nicola Zingaretti he has already declared a state of calamity and has written to all the mayors of the region asking them to take preventive measures for saving water.

The interview

“Drought is now inevitable, we will have to get used to it. Even rain would not solve the problem now”

by Luca Fraioli

June 16, 2022

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In Sicily there is a prolonged drought, according to the Anbi in Italy: 70% of the surface of Sicily presents a medium-high risk of desertification. They follow the Molise (58%), la Puglia (57%), Basilicata (55%). In Sardinia instead, the institutional committee of the Island Basin Authority has foreseen, at least for the moment, an unrestricted summer – the reservoirs are still 80% of a total volume of 1,480 billion cubic meters – but in addition to the problem of invasion of locusts that have now reached the inhabited centers, the risk of fires remains high throughout the region.

The next two weeks are decisive

The next two weeks will be crucial to saving theagriculture ei jobs in some sectors of tourism. In the meantime, at the end of the meeting between the Conference of the Regions and the head of Civil Protection only a laconic statement “We are discussing the state of national emergency with the Civil Protection, I think that on this, we will arrive at a solution in which we identify in the criteria for declaring a state of emergency and above all the interventions that can be made in a timely manner. There is total harmony between the Conference of Regions and Civil Protection “, said President Fedriga. Meanwhile, the mayors turn off the taps. From North to south.


The article is in Italian

Tags: Drought Italy Regions Municipalities taps closed state emergency

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