Extreme heat and drought have plunged northern Italy into a catastrophic drought. Residents of Piedmont have not experienced rain since December 2021. Even the “Grande Fiume”, the river Po, is running out of water. According to “Focus”, it’s level in Emilia-Romagna is already eight meters (!) below normal.
Neighboring Lombardy is also hit hard, and a state of emergency was declared here on Friday. The water shortage is endangering the harvests throughout the Po Valley, and the once fertile soil is now bone dry and hard as concrete (drought). Citizens across northern Italy have been called upon to save water. In Friuli, even private car washing, filling the pool, and watering the garden have been banned by punishment – “Today” reports.
According to the Ansa news agency, water has already had to be rationed in 200 communities in the Piedmont region. Giuseppe Casalone, a farmer from the area, draws a shocking picture of the situation: “Believe me, I’m not exaggerating: we are experiencing a catastrophe of biblical proportions here.” Meteorological records show that this is the worst drought in the last 70 years.
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The Bishop pleads for rain
Salinity seeps into the river
“Nothing grows within 200 meters of the course of the river. The earth has become a desert,” said Giancarlo Mantovani, director of the Po Delta Maintenance Consortium, at a press conference, describing the terrible situation. According to “Focus”, there is another problem in his region that may continue to linger for years to come: the level of the Po River has already fallen below that of the Adriatic Sea. Seawater is now flowing upstream, threatening the salinization of the surrounding farmland. There is no relaxation in sight. The hottest and driest months, July and August, are just ahead of northern Italy.