High temperatures hit Italy again, Po River at its lowest


The abnormal heat that hit the Italian peninsula in summer is showing up again. The temperature reached 26 degrees on Saturday October 29, when it should rather be ten degrees colder.

While on the bright side, the mayors of cities in northern Italy are postponing the switch to radiators – which will significantly reduce household demand for electricity and gas – the drought in rural areas is reappearing, limiting resources in particular hydrogeology of the Po Valley. .

According to the Coldiretti, Italy’s largest association for aid to Italian agriculture, the situation of the Po River in the water is -2.3 meters above hydrometric zero, with the drought returning to summer levels last, the lowest of the last 70 years.

According to the Italian Institute of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences (Cnr), 2022 is the hottest year on record in Italy since 1800 with an even higher temperature of almost one degree. Looking at figures from the Emilia-Romagna Environment and Energy Prevention Agency (Arpae), although August was the fourth wettest in the 1991-2020 series, water accumulations since January were still well below the annual climatic average (-25.7%). In addition, the agency said monthly Po River flows in August 2022 were below long-term historical averages and comparable to historical lows.

At the economic level, the damage to the agricultural sector was significant in the second quarter, constituting 10% of GDP. Losses of around $6 billion mainly affected northern Italy. The most affected crop was maize, whose harvest was reduced by almost half, as the drought this summer hit the regions of Lombardy, Piedmont, Veneto and Emilia-Romagna the hardest, which account for almost 9% of all national production.

The issue of water scarcity is becoming more prevalent and likely to pose structural problems again in the near future, as farmers begin to think about how to diversify their crops, choosing those that may require less of water.


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