The country’s irrigation authority warned on Thursday that drought conditions are swiftly spreading throughout Italy, with rivers and reservoirs drying up and the likelihood of increased temperatures making matters worse.
While farming organisations predict a drop in agricultural output this year in important producing regions, some Italian regions have already declared states of emergency in an effort to raise money to address the worsening water situation.
The greatest drought in recent memory and temperatures that reached 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) at the end of June, according to the ANBI irrigation organization, are pushing Italy toward a severe environmental and economic crisis.
The greatest drought in 70 years is currently affecting Italy’s longest river, the Po, which spans the country’s key northern regions and supplies around one-third of the nation’s agricultural output.
According to ANBI, “The Po continues to record an epoch-making low over its entire length.” It said that the flow rate needs to be at 450 cm/s to prevent salt water from coming from the sea and ruining farm land. “The flow rate has decreased by half in two weeks, sinking to little over 170 cubic meters per second,” it stated.
The level of natural reservoirs in central Italy is also dropping, according to ANBI, and the big northern lakes are already at, or very near, record lows. While the Aniene river’s flow rate has decreased by half, the Tiber river is at multi-year lows.
This week, the Lazio region, which is centered on Rome, declared a state of emergency. As a result, several towns are now subject to restrictions, including as prohibitions on using hosepipes and filling swimming pools.
According to a project supported by the European Space Agency, the Mediterranean’s surface temperature has risen by around 4C over the average for the period between 1985 and 2005 as a result of recent hot weather.
According to Gianmaria Sannino, head of the ENEA Climate Modelling, which participated in the study, “understanding what precisely is happening to the current climate is increasingly crucial since the changes are starting to have a real influence on everyday life.”
Concern is increased by the weather outlook for the remainder of the month, which calls for temperatures to be 10–12°C above average the next week, with high of up to 44°° on the islands of Sardinia and Sicily.