Lake Garda the saving solution?
Italy facing ordeal due to water shortage: "Catastrophe of biblical proportions"
Created: 06/23/2022, 12:10 p.m
By: Marcus Giebel
Italy is thirsty for rain.
The longest river in the country has far too little water, and part of the harvest is lost.
Lake Garda could remedy the situation, but that is proving difficult.
Munich – The Po is an impressive body of water in normal times.
Italy's longest river flows more than 652 kilometers along the northern edge of the boot from the French border to the Adriatic Sea.
It is fed by 141 tributaries on its way through the regions of Piedmont, Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna, past Turin, Piacenza and Ferrara.
Currently, however, the Po gives a rather depressing picture.
And at the same time an alarming one.
Because Italy is groaning under a drought that has lasted for weeks, if not months.
Rains are a fading memory.
With dramatic consequences for the Po and the entire region.
In some cases, the level is currently eight meters below its normal value for this time of year.
The amount of water transported has shrunk to around a tenth of the actually expected throughput near the Adriatic Sea.
Water shortage in Italy: Lake Garda is said to release water to the Po
Now Lake Garda should possibly help out.
Nowhere in the region is there more water than in the basin of the country's largest lake with a capacity of more than 49 billion cubic meters - even if the lack of rain has also left its mark here and only 60 percent of the usual water supply is left.
So the question to be discussed is: Can some of that be tapped into to breathe more life back into the butt?
The association of municipalities on Lake Garda wants to prevent this plan at all costs.
"If we release more water than is allowed for agriculture and we comply with the request for the Po River, we would do double damage," fears Secretary General Pierlucio Ceresa.
At the same time, he emphasized that the association is not fundamentally opposed to the idea, but that there is simply not enough water available to be able to provide any.
In the end, according to Ceresa, not only "a sick river Po" would remain, but also "a sick Lake Garda".
Other solutions are needed for the worst crisis in 60 years.
Watercourse of the Po: You can now walk under this bridge.
© PIERO CRUCIATTI/afp
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Italy is groaning under the drought: salt water from the sea runs over the river bed into the fields
But there is not much time left to take the right steps.
editorial network Germany
points out that salt water from the Adriatic Sea is now pushing inland in the river bed of the Po because the river level is lower than sea level.
This salt water penetrates into the fields and into the ground water.
"Nothing grows within a radius of 200 meters of the course of the river, the earth has become a desert," Giancarlo Mantovani is quoted as saying.
The director of the Po Delta maintenance consortium warns that it is only a matter of time "until salt water flows out of the taps".
Italy and the drought: crop failures in fruit, vegetables and rice are feared
In Piedmont - much closer to the source of the Po - the farmer Giuseppe Casalone, who cultivates near Novara, speaks of a "catastrophe of biblical proportions".
A large part of the production has already been lost, the young flowers have died.
It only gets really dry and hot in the popular holiday destination in midsummer - i.e. in July and August.
Then the risk of forest fires increases.
According to the Italian farmers' association Coldiretti, crop failures of 30 percent have already been recorded for early grain varieties.
A loss of 40 percent is calculated for fruit and vegetables.
Because of the stress on the farm animals, up to ten percent less milk can also be expected.
According to Paolo Carrà, President of the rice producers in Novara, Biella and Vercelli in Piedmont, up to 70 percent of the rice could break off.
The Po once flowed here: Not much is left of the longest river in Italy.
© Luca Bruno/dpa
Italy facing an ordeal: the government could declare a state of emergency
German Press Agency
has learned, civil defense is even preparing for a nationwide operation if the government around Prime Minister Mario Draghi should declare a state of emergency because of the drought.
In some communities in Piedmont, drinking water is already being rationed - a process that could expand.
Nobody wants to imagine how the tourist-strong months will affect further development.
It seems certain that Italy is facing a crucial test in view of the possible measures against the drying up of the rivers and the associated threat of crop failure.
Italy urgently needs water: prayers for rain in church services
According to media reports, the energy supplier Enel has taken a hydroelectric power plant out of operation for the time being.
Along with rivals Edison and A2A, the company has pledged to drain water from the reservoirs to help farmers.
We are talking about a total of five million cubic meters.
The lack of water is also a big issue in the church.
The Bishop of Milan, Mario Delpini, wants to pray in several services on Saturday "for the gift of water and for a wise use of this vital element".
In doing so, he follows the example of several priests.
So far, however, the hope that God will hear the believers who are begging for rain has not been fulfilled.