Italy’s Drought Deepens

June 30, 2022


Recent rain in Northern Italy has done little for the region’s worst drought in 70 years. At least 30% of this year’s rice crop has already been lost, and now the region’s irrigation sources are being threatened by the salty Adriatic sea, which has entered a record 30.6 kilometers (19 miles) into the Po river. 

The Po river flows for 652 kilometers from west to east in northern Italy, a region that accounts for about 30% of the country’s agricultural production. Large swaths of the river bed are currently visible as the river’s levels are 80% lower than normal. The drought, which is unusual for June, follows four months of little rain and snowmelt feeding the river. It’s also happening during an unprecedented heat wave in Europe.

The Po River Authority warned Wednesday that the body of water is still experiencing severe drought despite recent rains of 60 millimeters (2.36 inches), with the Po 7.16 meters (23.5 feet) lower than normal conditions at the Pontelagoscuro monitoring station.

“We have guaranteed water for agricultural use until July 9,” said Attilio Fontana, the governor of Lombardy in North Italy, on Italian news channel SkyTG24 Thursday. “After that, if it doesn’t rain, it will be an issue.”

Europe is experiencing extreme temperatures both on land and sea. Italy’s Health Ministry issued a red alert for 19 cities out of 27 on Thursday —meaning heat has reached emergency conditions that could not only impact the health of the most vulnerable, but also healthy people as well. The drought in the country puts at risk as much as 3 billion euros ($3.1 billion) in agriculture, the country’s farmers association said last week. The lobby estimates the loss of at least 30% of the seasonal harvest, including forage, barley and grain.


One Response to “Italy’s Drought Deepens”

  1. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    The suggested follow-on video to the Po River report was about Valparaiso, Chile’s reservoir drying up after a 13-year drought.

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