Satellite image of Lake Garda April 2023

Lake Garda at lowest level in 70 years

Environment News

New satellite data shows Lake Garda in northern Italy is at its lowest level since 1953.

Lake Garda, the largest in Italy, has fallen to just 45.8 cm above the hydrometric zero. This is the elevation above mean sea level established as a conventional reference for this basin. This compares to an average of 109 cm over the past 70 years.

Lake Garda or Benaco has an area of about 370 square kms and is the third lake in Italy for depth after Lake Como and Lake Maggiore. The average water level of Lake Garda, which lies about 65 meters above sea level, normally undergoes only very limited seasonal variations. This makes the recent drop all the more concerning.

Bordering with the regions of Lombardy and Veneto and the autonomous province of Trento, the lake is a crucial freshwater reservoir. Its current capacity threatens its ability to sustain agriculture, local communities, tourism and navigation.

Satellite data

The data comes from the Sentinel-2 satellite in the framework of the Copernicus European Drought Observatory.

The new satellite images of the lake corroborate other images testifying to the drought that is gripping Italy and Europe.

Similarly, images from the European Space Agency’s Smos satellite show that soil moisture is below average in much of southwestern Europe due to a winter that was not only particularly dry but also the second warmest on record.

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