ROME – Lombardy, a rich region in northern Italy, wants to declare a state of emergency due to a record drought that threatens crops and has forced the cities of the Po Valley to partially implement a water ration system. AFP reported on Thursday.
Attilio Fontana, the regional government’s top official, explained that the valley, where the agricultural sector in particular is developing, is experiencing the worst drought in 70 years. Fontana said a state of emergency was likely to be declared in Lombardy, where the city of Milan is located, as well as in the other three neighboring regions of Piedmont, Veneto and Emilia Romagna.
Some areas have been without water for more than 110 days
The Po River is the largest freshwater reservoir in Italy and much of it is used by farmers. Some areas in the Po Valley are without precipitation for more than 110 days. Drought threatens more than 30 percent of nationwide agricultural production and half of livestock farming in the valley, Italy’s largest agricultural association Coldiretti said on Thursday.
They will increase the volume of water discharged from dams and lakes
The low level of the Po River also leads to the infiltration of salty seawater into low-lying agricultural areas, which exacerbates farmers’ problems. Meanwhile, hydropower managers have announced that they will increase the amount of water discharged from dams and lakes to support farmers.