The dried up bed of the river Po, due to exceptional drought while italy is affected by a heat wave, on 23 June 2017 near Piacenza northern Italy. Photo: Miguel Medina / Getty Images

By Maria Elena Spagnolo
23 June 2017

(La Stampa) – Many areas of Italy are facing drought due to a shortage of rainfall and high temperatures. The government has declared a state of emergency in the areas around the cities of Parma and Piacenza, in the Emilia-Romagna region. The measure has been taken “as a consequence of the ongoing water crisis, due to a long drought period since fall 2016, worsened by high summer temperatures and major tourists flows”, a statement reads. Eight million and 650 thousand Euro will be made available to the two areas. 

Temperatures in the country are 1.9 degrees higher than the season average. Several regions have called for help from the ministry of Agriculture and the government. The Po river in the Piedmont region is 65% below the seasonal norm. Mayors and governors of the regions are issuing measures to address the emergency. 
Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome, has issued an order requiring citizens to limit unnecessary water use, including the liquid used to irrigate gardens, to wash cars and to fill swimming pools. “Water is a precious resource that must always be protected, especially when there is reduction of supply sources. We want to prevent citizens from experiencing inconveniences during the summer caused by poor water availability”, she said. The regions of Veneto, Sardinia, Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany have declared the state of emergency. Coldiretti, the association of Italian food producers, has warned that agricultural production is at risk, including vegetables, fruit, cereals, tomatoes, sunflowers, and vineyards.

State of emergency declared in parts of Italy due to drought

ROME, 23 June 2017 (ANSA) – Italy's health ministry put its heat risk level for the weekend to its highest, level 3-red, for 10 cities across the peninsula on Friday. The alarm will kick in on Saturday for Bologna, Bolzano, Brescia, Perugia, Torino, and on Sunday for Ancona, Campobasso, Florence, Perugia and Pescara. Italy is gripped by drought due to the heat and lack of rain. Premier Paolo Gentiloni's cabinet on Thursday declared a state of emergency for the northern provinces of Parma and Piacenza due to the shortage of water.

Tuscany Governor Enrico Rossi has asked the government to call a state of emergency for this region too. Rome Mayor Virginia Raggi has told inhabitants to limit water use for gardens, filling swimming pools and washing cars and the city is studying a plan to ration water. The mighty River Po is little more that a 13 centimetre stream at 30 kilometres from the source.

The water shortage has been running since autumn 2016 and has caused damaged to agriculture amounting to almost one billion euros so far.

Ten cities on heat red alert in drought-hit Italy



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