The Po River is the longest river in Italy and serves as a channel for agricultural production in the fertile northern parts of the country. The river helps irrigate rice fields and farmland, but it also helps irrigate pastures for cows — whose milk is used to make the famous Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
Read water levels in 70 years
But due to the lack of snow last winter and the exceptionally hot and dry spring, the Po River experienced severe drought. The river’s water level hasn’t been this low in 70 years and farmers attest that the flow is so weak that sea water seeps into the country and destroys their crops.
– There is talk of a shortage of these raw materials, such as wheat in particular. And the longer it lasts, the more will be lost, says farmer Claudio Bucarelli in Tuscany.
Declared emergency in five regions
The drop in water levels led the Italian government to declare a state of emergency in five northern regions: Friuli Veneto Guila, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Lombardy and Piedmont. In some cities in the north, such as Verona, restrictions have been imposed to reduce the water consumption of the population.
As a first step, the government has allocated 3.5 million euros in a crisis fund, equivalent to 392 million Swedish kronor, to help those affected by the water shortage.
Half the amount of rain as usual
According to the National Research Council CHR, the SMHI equivalent in Italy, compared to the past 30 years, has received only half of the country’s rainfall than normal.
– In normal cases, we felt dry at the end of August or September. If there is no water already, what will it be like in September, Clado Buccrilli wonders.
Watch how drought affects Italian farmer Claudio Bucarelli in the clip above.
“Falls down a lot. Internet fanatic. Proud analyst. Creator. Wannabe music lover. Introvert. Tv aficionado.”