Across the World, Historic Drought Impacting Water

June 18, 2022

Italy’s largest river, the legendary Po, is drying up. Nearby farms looking at 20 percent crop losses. Hydroelectric resource down 55 percent.

CBS News:

Water is so low in large stretches of Italy’s largest river that local residents are walking through the middle of the expanse of sand and shipwrecks are resurfacing.

Authorities fear that if it doesn’t rain soon, there’ll be a serious shortage of water for drinking and irrigation for farmers and local populations across the whole of northern Italy.

In a park near the central northern village of Gualtieri, cyclists and hikers stop in curiosity to observe the Zibello, a 50-meter long (164 feet) barge that transported wood during the second world war but sank in 1943. It is normally covered by the Po’s waters.

A false-color image of the Peñuelas reservoir in 2016 (left) and 2022 (right). COPERNICUS / SENTINEL 2

Yale 360:

A once-sprawling lake, the Peñuelas reservoir in central Chile has all but disappeared, desiccated by a 13-year drought. The resulting water shortage has fueled tensions over supplies needed for farming and lithium mining, and spurred the Chilean capital of Santiago to prepare for rationing.

The ongoing drought is the most intense and long-lasting in at least 400 years, rendering the lake bed dried and cracked, dotted with the skeletons of decaying fish, Reuters reported. The Peñuelas’ drying has been partially caused by higher temperatures and a reduction in rainfall. At the same time, snow in the Andes is melting faster or turning directly to water vapor, leaving mountain-fed streams at a trickle in the summer. 

The reservoir, near the city of Valparaiso, once held enough water to fill 38,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. It now has enough for just two.

“Basically what we have is just a puddle,” Jose Luis Murillo, general manager of ESVAL, the firm supplying water to Valparaiso, told Reuters. “This is especially significant if you think that several decades ago the Peñuelas reservoir was the only source of water for all greater Valparaiso.”

The thinning of the ozone layer over Antarctica is shifting weather patterns, drawing storms away from the Chilean coast. As the ozone layer heals, “one can expect a lessening of the summer drying in southern Chile,” a 2018 studysuggested. But with rising temperatures permanently altering the climate, a 2019 study anticipates “only a partial recovery of central Chile precipitation in the decades to come.” 

Miguel Lagos, a Chilean water specialist, told Reuters, “What we call a drought today will become normal.”


One Response to “Across the World, Historic Drought Impacting Water”

  1. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    Incredible droughts, mind stuffing floods, ridiculous temperatures in Europe all at the same time. Conclusion, the global weather is average. An average that is sorta catastrophic. So fellows of the congregation, primary aim is to replace fossil fuel use. Today’s sermon is, any obstruction to this aim is a crime against humanity, the planet and every creature on it.

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