The risk, which is not yet explicitly mentioned, but which is well present to everyone, is that we will have to choose between irrigating the fields or getting water from the taps. The drought alarm does not subside, especially in northern Italy with the Po, the great thirsty, which returns the fate of an emergency of such proportions that have not been seen for years. But with the alarm rapidly spreading to the center as well. In some areas, in fact, it hasn’t rained for almost four months and the situation is worsening, with tankers already in operation in some municipalities. In particular in Lombardy where the president of the Region Attilio Fontana has already announced that he will ask for a state of emergency, possibly also trying to involve colleagues from the regions that insist on the basin of the great river. “It is an extremely delicate situation – he said – I have been worried for months”. Piedmont also moves, with the governor Alberto Cirio who has sent to Rome the request for a state of calamity for agriculture. The Minister of Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani has announced the establishment of a National Coordination Committee of Observers at the Basin Authorities. “We are setting up a high profile institutional political table – he said – to make an overview of the measures at the national level”.

However, this is not a problem that only concerns the Po valley. The water emergency is in fact rapidly extending to Central Italy, according to the report of the association of reclamation consortia, which speaks of the “first season in which the consequences of climate change on the Peninsula are massively highlighted”. In Tuscany, for example, the Arno has flows halved compared to the monthly average, the Ombrone is reduced to a torrential state. In the Marche region, the Sentino river already touches an all-time low, like Esino and Nera. In Umbria, the reservoirs of Lake Trasimeno and the Maroggia dam have practically halved compared to previous years and the Tiber has recorded its lowest level since 1996. In Lazio, the situation of the Aniene is serious, the flow of the Sacco collapses, as well as in the levels of the lakes of Nemi and Bracciano are decreasing. Water has become a scarce and precious resource everywhere: Federico Caner, councilor of Veneto and coordinator of the agriculture sector of the Conference of the Regions, says that if the situation continues, it will not be possible to ask the government to intervene to make it prevail. the use of water for human and agricultural use compared to energy, inevitably ending up weighing on a sector already severely tested by international events and the global energy crisis. Edison, in agreement with the Lombardy Region, has decided to increase the water releases downstream of the Valtellina reservoirs for the next ten days. A choice that will further reduce the production of hydroelectric energy, already down by more than 50% compared to historical averages. However, the alarm concerns the agricultural sector even more urgently. The Burana Reclamation Consortium, which deals with a large slice of agricultural land in Emilia, says that if this situation persists, there will no longer be the conditions to derive water from the Po and therefore to irrigate the fields. Hence the appeal, shared somewhat by all the actors in this affair, to make “careful use of the scarce water resource available”. Also because another symptom of the water crisis is the rising of the saline wedge: in practice, when the flow of the Po is too weak, the sea water “goes up” the course of the river, but being salty it cannot be used to irrigate the fields. . In recent days it has reached about thirty kilometers from the mouth.

COLDIRETTI’S ALARM: A QUARTER OF ITALY HIT BY DESERTIFICATION
More than 1/4 of the national territory (28%) is at risk of desertification, which concerns the regions of the South but also those of the North with the very serious drought of this year which represents only the tip of the iceberg of a process that jeopardizes the availability of water in the countryside and in the cities with the arrival of tankers and rationing.

This is what emerges from an analysis by Coldiretti on the situation of the national territory on the occasion of the UN world day for the fight against desertification and drought on 17 June, based on Ispra data. An appointment that falls – underlines the agricultural organization – in a dramatic situation for the beautiful country with the hydrometric level of the Po river at the Ponte della Becca which has fallen to -3.7 meters on lower levels for at least 70 years but what is worrying is also the advance of the saline wedge due to the rising sea water which makes cultivation in the delta areas impossible.

THE CONFAGRICOLTURA APPEAL: EXTRAORDINARY INTERVENTIONS ARE REQUIRED
Saving crops and food production
. This is the priority of agricultural enterprises in Northern Italy struggling with a drought that requires extraordinary and immediate interventions, capable of coping with a new emergency. This is what Confagricoltura affirms, which is collecting reports from Piedmont, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, but also from Valle d’Aosta and the Autonomous Province of Trento, all of which – underlines the agricultural organization – are deeply concerned about the dramatic situation that is taking place. A concern – he adds – also shared by insurance companies that “no longer include the risk of drought among the recognized services”.


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