No Po-table water

Northern Italy declares drought emergency

5 regions in Northern Italy have declared a state of emergency: Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto.  They are experiencing the worst drought in 70 years.

The state of emergency enables red tape to be cut and immediate action taken, which already includes water rationing.

More extreme weather events are the cause with unusual heat and low rainfall.  The Po, Italy’s longest river, is normally fed by winter snow in the Alps but today it is at 20% of its normal level.

The Po Valley is filled with farms so food supply will inevitably be affected.  The ESA has provided images of the dried fields and CNN has reported on the threat to Parmesan production – cows are producing much less milk.

€36.5m (£31m; $38m) of emergency funds has been provided to tackle the water shortage.  It is not yet clear how this will be spent amidst talk of a special commissioner to coordinate the response.