Italy is groaning unabated under heat and water shortages. In Tuscany, part of the harvest is lost and in Rome it gets really hot. Meanwhile, not only one civil defense officer is accusing years of neglect.
Munich/Rome – In some areas of Italy, masses are already being held in churches to pray for rain and an end to the drought. The Mediterranean country with its almost 60 million inhabitants has been struggling for weeks with an unprecedented drought and – associated with it – with a sometimes drastic regional water shortage.
Water shortages in Italy: Highest heat warning level for Rome, Palermo, Naples, Florence and Bologna
The situation keeps getting worse. The Italian Ministry of Health issued the highest heat warning level for 22 cities for the weekend (2/3 July). These include Rome, Palermo, Naples, Florence and Bologna. In the metropolis of Rome, for example, with its up to 2.9 million inhabitants, it should get up to 40 degrees warm.
The head of civil protection therefore announced drastic measures. “In some areas, it is possible that the water – which has to be rationed – is sometimes turned off even during the day,” explained Fabrizio Curcio. Actionism or the solution? According to the ARD “Tagesschau”, the civil protection officer complained relentlessly about blatant abuses in the Italian water supply.
In the video: Worst drought in 70 years – Italy is running out of water
From the Upper Italian Lakes, Lake Garda, Lake Como and Lake Maggiore, via Rome and Tuscany to the Amalfi Coast – all popular destinations for tourists and holidaymakers. Many pipes are simply leaking everywhere here, Curcio said: “We have water pipes that lose up to 70 or 75 percent of water. It is obvious that you cannot waste 70 percent of a resource. I think this should really be an incentive to get everyone around the table to talk about infrastructure.”
Water shortage and drought in Italy: sharp criticism of the handling of drinking water
The problem is not new, but is hitting Italians even harder now that the country’s largest river, the Po, has practically dried up in some areas. Already in midsummer 2006 he reported Deutschlandfunk of “drip faucets and leaky pipes”. In the report at the time, the sociologist Rosario Lembo criticized an allegedly “damp and carefree attitude with which many Italians use water, as if there were an infinite amount of it”.
Lembo said harshly at the time: “In Germany, children are taught that they should first soap themselves and then turn on the shower. You can forget that with us. Here, on the other hand, you are overwhelmed by advertisements for hydromassage and soothing baths. A cultural problem that starts with the ever-drip faucets. Water is wasted everywhere. Nobody considers it valuable.”
With a length of 652 kilometers, the Po is the longest river in Italy. It extends in northern Italy from the Valle Po in the Cottian Alps (Piedmont region) to Adria in Veneto, where it ends in the Adriatic Sea. The Po Valley surrounding it is the country’s most important industrial and agricultural region. These include important cities such as Turin, Milan, Verona, Venice, Bologna and Parma. The river ensures the drinking water supply here.
An indication of his thesis: The “Tagesschau” calculates that a person in Italy uses an average of 215 liters of water per day, while the average across Europe is 125 liters. Water scarcity is already hitting the Italian economy, especially agriculture, hard in times of inflation. According to the Coldiretti agricultural association, only in Tuscany have 30 percent of the harvest been lost due to drought and drought.
Water shortage in Italy: Draghi speaks of the “worst water crisis in the last 70 years”
Prime Minister Mario Draghi recently spoke of the worst water crisis in the last 70 years. He has instructed his government to draw up an emergency plan. The head of government, who has just returned from the NATO summit in Madrid, also mentioned “poor maintenance of the network”. Draghi has so far left open what the measures should look like. Instead, his government is taking its time. She only wants to discuss the topic from Monday (July 4) – under pressure from the regions in the north.
Experts recently even advised pumping out Lake Garda, which is popular with German tourists, between Riva, Salo, Desenzano, Sirmione and Bardolino. Does it really come to that? An end to the drought is not in sight, at least for the time being. (pm)
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