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Italy has declared a state of emergency due to a drought on the Po River.

This image taken on July 2, 2022 in Rome shows low water levels in the Tiber River near the Victor Emanuele II Bridge, showing the ancient bridge built under Roman Emperor Nero (below).

Andreas Solaro | AFP | Getty Images

Italian government declared a state of emergency on Monday in five regions due to drought caused by lack of rain and rising temperatures.

To help the regions that have been particularly hard hit, Italy is sending $37.5 million in aid funds distributed among the regions of Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto. Italian government statement.

“For the Po Basin, this is the most severe water crisis in seventy years, according to an analysis by the Po Basin Authority.” This was announced on Thursday by Prime Minister Mario Draghi.in the translation of the statement.

The Tiber River running through central Italy and Rome and flowing under the famous Victor Emanuele II Bridge. also in the image above works at a very low level.

Damaged soybean plants affected by salty seawater flowing into the drought-stricken Po River, pictured in Porto Tolle, Italy, June 23, 2022. The picture was taken on June 23, 2022.

Guglielmo Mangiapane | Reuters

The Po River flows east through the northern part of the country from Pian del Re at Monte Viso to the Adriatic Sea near Venice. according to the European Commission. It is the longest river in Italy, with 17 million people living in its basin, or a third of the total population.

A World War II barge lies on a dry bed of the Po River as parts of Italy’s longest river and largest reservoir of fresh water dried up due to the worst drought in 70 years in Gualtieri, Italy, June 22, 2022.

Guglielmo Mangiapane | Reuters

According to Draghi, the crisis arose due to a three-year drought and rising temperatures.

“There are two categories of causes of this water crisis: the first is the lack of rainfall over the past three years. Precipitation levels have been low, of course, not only this year, but also in previous years.” Draghi said Thursday. “The overall rise in temperature is also contributing; there is no doubt that climate change is having an impact.”

One of the pylons of the bridge over the river Po in the municipality of Boretto, province of Reggio Emilia, Italy, June 27, 2022.

Andrea Carrubba | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

In addition, Italy is losing water from the Po River due to what Draghi called “structural causes”, referring to “poor maintenance of the pools, poor maintenance of the network”.

“That’s why Italy has an unusually high level of leaks, water loss: we’re talking about 30 percent or more,” Draghi said. “To give you an idea, the total in Israel is 3% and in other European countries it is 5-6-8%. Undoubtedly, an emergency plan is now needed to deal with this emergency.”

The Fountain of the Months (Fontana dei Mesi) is closed to prevent wasting water in the Valentino Park, Turin, Italy on June 19, 2022.

Massimo Pinka | Reuters

The Po River and surrounding watersheds are important areas for agriculture and livestock. More than half of the national cattle population, 3.1 million heads, and 65% of the national pig population, or 6 million heads, live in the region. according to information about the region from the European Commission.

A drought has destroyed the rice crop in Italy. destruction of 30% of the total cropaccording to a written statement released on Sunday from Coldirettiagricultural organization in the European Union.

The devastation of rice crops comes at a particularly painful time for the industry, as it has already cut 10,000 hectares of acreage due to “record cost increases” caused by the war in Ukraine. Caldiretti said.

A man walks along a dry bed of the Sangone River, a tributary of the Po River that is experiencing the worst drought in 70 years, in Beinasco, Turin, Italy, June 19, 2022.

Massimo Pinka | Reuters


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