Italy’s Health Undersecretary indicates the government is set to declare a drought state of emergency. Italy is suffering from its worst drought in 70 years.
The Health Undersecretary, Andrea Costa, indicated on Tuesday the government is set to grant requests from the regions worst-affected by Italy’s severe, ongoing drought. As a result, a drought state of emergency is to be declared.
“There are the necessary conditions to declare a state of emergency,” Costa told SkyTG24. “We have to support the agriculture sector, which is not just about what it produces, it is also vital for our country for the way it maintains the territory”.
Drought alert spreads from Po Valley
A drought alert has spread from the Po valley, where waters are three quarters down amid the worst drought in 70 years. Central rivers like the Arno, the Aniene and the Tiber are now affected. They have half the water they normally do at this time of the year, officials said last week. The Po drought threatens over 30% of the national farm output. Damage is currently estimated at over two billion euros.
With water sources depleting, Italian hydroelectric reservoir levels are at historic lows. The production of hydroelectric power usually supplies 15% of the country’s needs. Indeed, it is down 50% so far this year from 2021. Compounding the country’s woes, the Adriatic Sea has entered into the Po Delta for at least 10 kilometres, threatening farm lands and raising the risk of salty water in taps.
Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna are also set to request a state of emergency, with the aim of prioritising human and agricultural use of water. Lazio, which also encompasses Rome, said on Monday it was declaring a ‘state of calamity’.
Some areas and towns already have water restrictions in place. They are having to bring water in by trucks.
Affected regions are assessing adopting water rationing with, for example, bans of swimming pools being filled up.