All Italian rivers hit by the great drought

All Italian rivers hit by the great drought

Arid beds, dry courses: the water supply crisis in Italian rivers is measured upstream, in our increasingly snow-poor mountains. And it is linked to the effects of climate change, with increasingly scarce rains both in the North and in the South: rains which, when they finally arrive, are impetuous and become natural disasters that spill excessive quantities of water causing damage to agriculture and the arteries of communication. Effect triggered by an average temperature higher than normal and which in the next 30 years will rise between 1 and 2 degrees throughout the boot. So much so that even at the national level there is a thought to adopt measures from a state of emergency.

It is a drought that has raged since winter: from December to the end of February, Italy received 60% less snow and 80% less rain than the seasonal average. Already in January, the ARPA had communicated that only 4.8 millimeters of rain were recorded, while in the same period in the past an average of 46 was estimated: ten times as much. Finally, the absence of precipitation was associated with an extraordinarily warm end of winter: a seasonal average of 1.7 ° C more than in the thirty years 1981-2010.

Less hydroelectric energy and dry fields: the economic consequences of drought The lack of water impacts various companies, from the production of hydroelectric plants to the agricultural enterprises of the Po Valley, considered the area most affected by this crisis. understanding where the great crisis of Italian rivers begins always starts with the Po, today with minimum values ​​that are around 30% of the seasonal average. The Great River is not a case in itself but only the thermometer of a national phenomenon. “In reality, all Italian rivers are in serious difficulty - Andrea Agapito Ludovici, water manager of WWF Italia, explains to Now the Po is suffering but if we move to Veneto rivers such as the Brenta are completely dry for long stretches. The problem, in addition of course to the climate changes that are occurring more and more frequently, is the availability of water. In fact, there is a general decrease in the annual volume of water that flows into the sea. We are using more water than we have ".

A big problem, because Italy has always enjoyed a vast availability of fresh water, ensured above all by the imposing snow-capped peaks spread over much of the national territory. Starting with the Alps: this is why it is striking that on 28 June the Lombardy Region declared a state of water emergency which will last until September. Lombardy is very rich in fresh water, but for some time civil and industrial uses have been affecting the regional water heritage. And now this region records a decrease of about 40% in rainfall compared to the average of previous years and about 60% less snow melts than in the same period of 2021. According to the National Association of land management and protection consortia and irrigation waters (Anbi) today all the large natural basins in the North are below average even compared to last year. In June 2021, Lake Garda and Iseo were almost as full as the Maggiore, which currently has half the volume of water recorded only 12 months ago.

The state of the rivers in Italy Anbi has recently produced a series of data that give the picture of the state of Italian rivers. Starting from Emilia Romagna, the flow rates of the rivers drop dramatically throughout the region and the Secchia and Enza are below the historical limit. After what has been seen for the Po and Lombardy (where even the Adda river has not seen so little water since 2017), the new special surveillance is Lazio. In this region, the levels of the Tevere, Liri, Sacco, Aniene rivers as well as those of the Bracciano and Nemi lakes have dropped: some of the assumptions that have convinced the Lazio Region to issue an ordinance declaring a state of calamity. For now it does not concern the rationing of drinking water, but it is a hypothesis on the table of various regions, not only that of Lazio.

Bad also goes to Tuscany: the Arno has a flow rate equal to 27% of the average and the Ombrone and the Serchio are really suffering. It is mainly due to the scarcity of rains: just think that in the past few months there has been a deficit in rainfall of more than 90%. Even the rivers of the Marche seem to slowly drop below the levels of 2021, after an initial period in which they seem to have resisted. While, in the Aosta Valley, the high temperatures favor the melting of the snow that has returned to fill the regional waterways. Instead, it is worse in Piedmont where the levels of the main rivers such as Pesio, Tanaro and Sesia have dropped. On the other hand, the Veneto region seems to have the greatest problems in terms of water supply. To give an idea, the levels of the Adige river are 1.70 lower than last year: a huge amount. And as the Arpa Veneto writes, similar situations are recorded in all the other rivers of the region, mainly for the Brenta, Livenza and Piave.

A wreck of the Second World War emerged with the Po Shoal Gallery 10 Images by Marta Musso

Look at the gallery general decrease of water in reservoirs and along rivers. In Sicily, the situation remains under control and with some increase in volumes in the reservoirs. There is also a moderate increase in basins in Basilicata. And in Campania there are currently no problems from a water point of view, except in the northern part of the region which is at risk of drought.

The effects of the lack of water in the rivers Main damages deriving from this condition drought that clears the waterways are for agriculture and the environment. In particular, on this last point, regarding biodiversity, as Agapito Ludovici explains: "Above all, damage is created to all those organisms linked to inland waters: the drying up of many small and large wetlands, between March and May, prevented or drastically reduced the reproduction of many species of amphibians, some of which are in an already critical state of conservation such as the insubric dark pelobate, the lataste frog or the Italian crested newt. There have been fish deaths in river stretches and wetlands that have remained completely dry; moreover, the dryness of many ecosystems is putting many indigenous species even more in crisis, favoring the further spread of alien species: this is the case of "freshwater mussels" (genera Unio, Anodonta, Microcondylea), little known but very widespread, at least until a recent past, in our inland waters, which are becoming more and more rarefied due to environmental degradation at the expense of some alien species such as the great Asian mussel, Sinanodonta woodiana, which manages to survive for long dry periods of water bodies without particular problems ".

The plan to halve the use of pesticides in Europe The Commission is proposing it and it is the first project of this type in 30 years in the Old Continent. Objective: to protect insects and preserve biodiversity If we add to this that 60% of the waters of Italian rivers are chemically polluted, the picture for fauna and flora can only get worse. The effects of the climate do not contribute to this, but the illicit spills of pesticides, antibiotics, microplastics and various substances thrown into fresh water courses. For example, they made the Sarno river in Campania the most polluted in Europe. According to Istat, to give an idea of ​​the problem, the total amount of civil sewage discharged into polluted rivers without undergoing any purification treatment is equal to that produced by 41 million inhabitants.

How to react to the lack of water in our rivers Certainly through climate mitigation policies: we cannot afford more warming than what we already experience and what we will already be condemned to live. So it is necessary to reconstruct natural bands of woods and wetlands: to restore the original nature of certain places which creates a natural sponge effect. "During floods, they retain water, protect the banks, favor the recharge of the aquifers and during periods of drought, mitigate water deficits and locally temperatures, also offering shelter to the fauna", explains Ludovici. And it is certainly necessary to reduce waste, from individual to public and private ones, then thinking about a strategy to contain large reservoirs.

“In Europe over 100 dams have already been removed but in Italy it is not even possible to tackle the problem, while the further and deleterious multiplication of reservoirs continues to be proposed, we are in a country that is substantially basinised: in the mountains there are dams, large and small, but there are also numerous reservoirs for other purposes such as for artificial snow; the large lakes are all regulated by dams and gates, the outflow into the smaller hydrographic network is in fact regulated by locks and gates. We do not need new reservoirs, except in exceptional cases, but water management in keeping with its real availability ", says Ludovici.

The solution, made up of multiple actions, is therefore clear: institutions need to move quickly at the local and national level. And it certainly does not hurt a greater individual awareness of the waste of water and the protection of our water courses. With an idea in mind, as Lucio Battisti sang: "I dream of my finally dignified country, and a river with live fish one hour from the house".

Powered by Blogger.