Tuscan drought, the saline ‘wedge’ dries up the aquifer. Pine forests, red alert

Tuscan drought, the saline ‘wedge’ dries up the aquifer. Pine forests, red alert
Tuscan drought, the saline ‘wedge’ dries up the aquifer. Pine forests, red alert

Versilia, 24 June 2022 – Viareggio and the neighboring municipalities would gladly do without this “taste of salt”. The persistent drought has not only reduced the water reserves of Gaia, the manager of the Versilia aqueduct, by 30%. The “saline wedge” is also recurring, the infiltration of sea water into the subsoil that reduces the fresh water table, and endangers the survival of the centuries-old pine forests but also of agriculture, starting with the flower crops irrigated with wells. artesians.

The salinisation alarm was already there about 25 years ago, but now that the water table has also reduced due to a lack of rain, the problem is likely to become dramatic. Hand in hand with the saline wedge, there is also the lowering of the level of Lake Massaciuccoli: it has already reached 19 centimeters below sea level, and if it does not rain the Basin Authority it could block the irrigation of agricultural crops (mainly maize) from Torre del Lago to Massarosa, but also to Vecchiano in the province of Pisa: 500 hectares in all.

Ismaele Ridolfi, president of the Ato1 reclamation consortium, was very clear: “The danger of sea water entering the reservoir is extremely real”. It would cause enormous damage to the lake habitat protected by the Migliarino-Massaciuccoli-San Rossore Park.

And it is precisely the Park chaired by Lorenzo Bani who entrusted Claudia Principe, a geologist from Pisa, with the new study on the threat of the salt wedge. “We will start soon – explains the geologist – with piezometric measurements of the electrical conductivity in the water table. The saline wedge could damage the delicate ecosystems of the Park”.

In summer, the “blades” of water, the ponds, should be dry. Instead they are full, and salty. How does it work? Salt water conducts electricity more than fresh water. A similar study was carried out at the end of the twentieth century: then as today, salt was found in the wells that feed the greenhouses of the flower growers. from Viareggio to Lido di Camaiore.

The then president of the reclamation consortium, Fortunato Angelinitogether with the former mayor of Viareggio Marco Marcucci, launched the industrial aqueduct project: 60 km of pipelines to recycle waste water from purifiers in agriculture, and reduce underground drainage that favors the advance of the saline wedge.

“But the 4 million ministerial contribution was shifted to the purification interventions of Lake Massaciuccoli – remembers Angelini – and no one has dealt with the saline wedge anymore”. Not even the lake: the constructed wetlands are still to come, meanwhile the reservoir is increasingly dry and you can see the waste emerging from the banks.

The article is in Italian


Tags: Tuscan drought saline wedge dries aquifer Pine forests red alert

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