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Northern Italy's agricultural output can be 30% lower this year due to the drought

Northern Italy enters state of emergency due to drought

Northern Italy enters state of emergency due to drought

Five of the regions located there will receive funding, but that might only be the first step in times of need

Yesterday evening, the Italian Council of Ministers approved a state of emergency for the regions of Emilia Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Veneto and Piedmont. All of these are located in the northern part of the country along the course of the Po river, whose levels have been drastically lowered by a severe drought.

The state of emergency measure means that more than 36 million euros in funding will be poured into relief measures for the affected regions. “The government will not stop there, there will be other measures and we are focused on grounding the resources of the NRP dedicated to this issue.” This was stated by the Minister for Regional Affairs and Autonomies, Mariastella Gelmini.

Italy’s major water bodies have been impacted by the heat wave

This has been the worst recorded drought in the past 70 years in Italy. The state of emergency provides “extraordinary means and powers” to help guarantee public safety, and compensation for losses while seeking to guarantee normal living conditions for those in the area.

According to the country’s largest agricultural union, Coldiretti, the drought threatens more than 30 percent of national agricultural production, and half of the farms in the Po Valley, where Parma ham is produced.

The river Po represents the peninsula’s largest water reservoir, much of which is used by farmers. The other large natural reservoirs, such as the lakes Maggiore and Garda, have also recorded lower than normal levels for this time of the year. The same goes for Rome’s famed river – the Tiber.

The region where the Italian capital is located, Lazio, has been placed under a state of natural disasters, due to the increasing incidence of fires. One of them erupted to the north of Rome.

The cities of Pisa and Verona have imposed water restrictions, and Venice and Milan have stopped some of their public fountains.

The Governor of Veneto, Luca Zaia, welcomed the relief funding, however, he stated that much more needs to be done in terms of bringing about effective resilience to such phenomena.

"I also hope that some chapters of the NRP (National Recovery Plan) will be reviewed and that European funds will be taken advantage of, for example, for the cleaning of mountain reservoirs, for the creation of new reservoirs, perhaps from disused quarries, to help the agriculture so that it uses non-sieving forms of irrigation since the open channelling has a terrible dispersion of the water resource,” he explained, as quoted by ANSA.

Zaia then proposed: “We have to focus on arid-culture modes, Israeli type, where there is the pipe with the drop for many crops, rather than on rain irrigation, where the sprinkler system is much less wasteful on the water resource front than the canalization.

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