Mon. Jul 15th, 2024
Worsening drought in five northern regions surrounding the Po RiverImage Credits: Guglielmo Mangiapane/ Reuters

In response to a worsening drought in five northern regions surrounding the Po River, the Italian government has declared a state of emergency.

As per the agriculture union, Coldiretti, the drought threatens more than 30 percent of the agricultural produce of Italy and nearly half of the farms in the Po valley.

Furthermore, the Cabinet has approved a state of emergency in five regions, namely, Friuli-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont, and Veneto,- until December the government said in a statement on Monday, and allocated a 36.5-million-euro fund to help those who are affected.

“The state of emergency is aimed at managing the current situation with extraordinary means and powers,” the Italian government said.

Italy has witnessed unusually hot weather, an early heatwave and a lack of rainfall, particularly in the northern regions, compounded water shortages in the Po valley, which has been hit by its worst drought in decades.

Lakes Maggiore and Garda have also experienced lower than usual water levels for this time of the year. While the river down south, the Tiber River, which runs through Rome, has also dropped.

Consequences of the drought

  • The Po River is the largest water reservoir on the peninsula, and much of it is used by farmers to irrigate their paddy fields. It threatens the country’s agricultural production, as mentioned above.
  • Recently, a few municipalities have announced restrictions, while Milan has announced the closure of its decorative fountains.
  • Furthermore, as a direct consequence of the drought, hydroelectric power production has fallen sharply.

The announcement comes a day after a glacier collapse in the Italian Alps claimed at least seven lives.

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