Italy Declares State of Emergency Over Drought


It is the worst drought in 70 years and follows poor levels of winter snow and precious little rain since. The alpine areas are badly affected and it will impact on summer glacier skiing. NEW

Five northern regions including the main alpine areas of Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto are affected.

The other two areas are Emilia-Romagna and Friuli Venezia Giulia.

There was 70% less snow than average last winter and therefore there has been little melt-water to fill the rivers and reservoirs.

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

Passo Tonale, Italy. Image © PlanetSKI

The River Po, that stretches for more than 400 miles from the Alps in the west to Venice in the east, is badly affected.

The snow in the Alps in Piedmont and Lombardy has totally run out,” said Utilitalia, a federation of water companies.

We reported on situation earlier on PlanetSKI:

Central government has granted €36.5m (£31m) in emergency funds to tackle the water shortage.

“The state of emergency is aimed at managing the current situation with extraordinary means and powers,” said the Italian government.

Water rationing is already in force in places with no water allowed for non-domestic use and fines up to €500 for those who break the rules.

The situation is critical in Piedmont, where some areas haven’t seen any rain for nearly four months.

Water companies have asked mayors in 100 towns in Piedmont  to suspend night time drinking water supplies to replenish reservoir levels.

The authorities say further measures may be taken.

Summer skiing is underway in the glacier resort of Passo Selvio, but there are concerns for other areas that are set to open later in the summer.

Warm temperatures have led to deteriorating conditions with no snowfall to top up conditions.

The drought threatens more than 30% of Italy’s agricultural produce much of which comes from the north.

The ski area of the Aosta Valley is affected, but not as badly as the other regions.

Aosta Valley

Aosta Valley. Image © PlanetSKI.

The change in the climate is also likely responsible for a glacier collapse in the Dolomites last weekend.

8 people are confirmed dead and the search for survivors continues.

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