Verona and Pisa ration drinking water amid historic drought
The northern Italian cities of Verona and Pisa, home to nearly 350,000 people combined, began rationing drinking water on Saturday, amid a historic drought in the region.
Until August 31, drinking water cannot be used to water vegetable gardens, gardens and sports fields, wash cars, fill swimming pools and any other activity not strictly necessary for human needs, the two announced. regional authorities this weekend.
The use of drinking water for domestic purposes, personal cleaning and hygiene is still allowed in Pisa and Verona, which is the second largest city in northeastern Italy with more than 250,000 inhabitants. .
Anyone violating the restrictions, which were signed in Verona by the city’s new mayor, Damiano Tomasi, can be fined up to €500 ($522).
However, the regional authority of Verona added that “any use for the purposes described above and prohibited, although not recommended, can only take place from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.”.
Pisa Mayor Michele Conti introduced identical drinking water restrictions over the weekend, with fines ranging from €100 ($104) to €500.
“It is a necessary act that many municipalities in Tuscany and Italy are adopting, to ensure sufficient supplies of drinking water in a particularly critical summer period, due to the high temperatures, the scarcity of rainfall and the increase in consumption also linked to tourism activities,” Conti said. said by the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero.
More than a hundred municipalities in northern Italy have adopted measures to save water, but Verona and Pisa are among the largest cities in the region to do so.
Like its European neighbours, Italy has faced an unusually early heat wave, as well as a severe lack of rainfall and melting snow from the Alps, which have been linked to climate change.
Italy’s northern Po Valley, which produces around 40% of the country’s food, including wheat, is experiencing its worst drought since 1952.
It has barely rained for about four months and the water level of the Po, Italy’s longest river, is seven meters below average.
“This drought is unique in history due to the combination of two anomalies – the lack of rain, in addition to the high temperature, which is directly linked to climate change,” said Luca Mercalli, president of the Italian Meteorological Society. .
Lakes Maggiore and Lake Garda are below average water levels for this time of year, while further south the level of the Tiber, which flows through Rome, has also dropped.
Another impact of water scarcity is that hydroelectric power generation has dropped sharply as there is less water flowing to power dams.
Hydroelectric facilities, located in the mountainous regions of northwestern Italy, produce almost 20% of the country’s energy.
Several regions have called on Rome to declare a state of emergency to allow additional financial aid and civil protection measures to tackle the problem.
Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced that measures could follow as early as Monday when the government undertakes emergency planning for the most affected regions.