Home International Temperatures of 43ºC dry up major rivers in drought-hit Italy

Temperatures of 43ºC dry up major rivers in drought-hit Italy

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Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said in a statement there is no doubt that climate change is having an effect on the drought.

A general view of Po’s dry riverbed as parts of Italy’s longest river and largest reservoir of freshwater have dried up due to the worst drought in the last 70 years, in Boretto, Italy. Picture: Gabriele Pileri/Reuters

UNUSUALLY hot weather and low rainfall in Italy has led to the most serious water crisis in the last 70 years and has dried up the country’s longest river.

The Po river, which flows eastward for more than 650km, has more than 17 million people that live in its basin, according to European Commission data.

Last week, the Italian government declared a state of emergency until December 31 in five northern regions – Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi said there are two main factors causing the water crises, namely the low level of rainfall and the general rise in temperature.

“There is no doubt that climate change is having an effect. An emergency plan is undoubtedly needed to deal with this emergency now.

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“There are also a number of structural causes: poor maintenance of the basins, poor network maintenance, which is something that should be carried out by the concessionaires,” he said.

The government also announced a €36.5 million (R623m) fund to help those affected by the drought.

Italian agricultural union, Coldiretti, said that 2022 has already been classified as the hottest year recorded with a temperature higher than 0.76 degrees compared to the historical average.

Rainfall along the Peninsula has decreased by 45% and threatens a third of agricultural produce, according to an analysis by the union.

According to the World Bank Group’s Climate Change Knowledge Portal, Italy is located in an area particularly vulnerable to climate change.

“Climate observations already confirm an increase of the average temperature as well as an upward trend in extreme temperatures. Italy is prone to natural hazards and climate change is expected to increase its vulnerability to climate-related hazards over the next decades,” said the organisation.

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