Posted on15. June 2022, 20:39
The situation in Lombardy and Piedmont is dramatic: the basin is running out of water. Now the night drinking water supply is to be suspended in 125 municipalities in the Po valley.
There is a drought in the northern regions of Italy.
The Po River has dropped to a record low.
This is the worst drought in the north of the country in 70 years.
The north of Italy is currently experiencing the worst drought in 70 years: the Po river has dropped to a record low, now several local companies are demanding a halt to the overnight supply of drinking water in 125 Po Valley municipalities. The emergency request shows how serious the situation is, as the water for the cooling systems of the power plant may soon run out of power.
125 municipalities are located in Piedmont and in the Province of Bergamo. “There is no more snow in the Alps,” says a press release from Utilitalia, an association of public service providers operating in the water, environment, electricity and gas sectors. Glaciers and high-altitude springs helped ease the discomfort in May, but rainfall has been scarce in recent months. Moreover, the demand for water in the Po plain is high due to the large number of inhabitants.
Cisterns must bring water
The business association warns that the situation will worsen in the coming years as the demand for agricultural and industrial water will increase and there will be no more reserves. “In dozens of municipalities in Piedmont and Lombardy, cisterns are already being used to supply water because the tanks are connected to sources that are no longer there,” says Meuccio Berselli, AdBPo Director of the Po River Basin at Corriere della Sera.
The above-average temperatures make the situation difficult. Meanwhile, electricity grid operator Terna said the drought has stopped hydropower production.
30 to 40 percent of fruit production fails
Agriculture is the most affected sector. One third of the country’s agricultural production, mainly fruit, vegetables and cereals, is at risk. There is a risk of water rationing and limited irrigation of the fields, warns the Italian agricultural association Coldiretti of La Repubblica. According to the Cia farmers’ association, fruit and vegetable production in the Po Valley is expected to decline by 30-40 percent. In the case of grain, the losses are likely to be even greater.
Authorities indicate that the water level in all lakes, with the exception of Lake Garda, is well below the seasonal average. The Po level is almost three meters below the usual average: in Pontelagoscuro the flow is 301 cubic meters per second compared to the historic minimum of 320. At the Ostiglia power plant in the Province of Mantua in Lombardy, one of the three groups has already been closed as there is not enough water to cool the power plant .