Rome Suffers Water Shortage as Heatwaves Hit Italy

Several areas of Italy, including the Po valley in the north and the capital city of Rome, were struggling today with water shortages amid a heatwave.

The heatwave is expected to push temperatures close to 40 degrees at the weekend.

A state of emergency was declared Thursday for Parma and Piacenza, two cities near the Po river, which according to farmers’ association Coldiretti produce 25 per cent of Italian tomatoes.

Some 9.6 million dollars is to be spent on emergency water supplies to the two provinces.

Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti called a crisis meeting in Piacenza for later Friday.

The Po valley is one of Italy’s most fertile areas. It is home to tomato and wheat fields that supply the world’s biggest pasta producer, Barilla.

The river’s flow rate is down by 65 per cent compared to a 1995-2015 average, the ANSA news agency said.

In Rome, Mayor Virginia Raggi issued a ban on the use of domestic water for gardening, filling up swimming pools or washing cars or motorbikes, to be enforced with fines of up to 500 euros.

The same measure was adopted in Benevento, a southern city near Naples.

In Sardinia, some 1,500 farmers took to the streets with tractors demanding support, according to Coldiretti.

The association estimated nationwide damages of more than 1 billion euros to agricultural production due to the heatwave.

Coldiretti said there were critical droughts also in Tuscany and Veneto regions, and worrying developments in Liguria, Piedmont, Lombardy and Friuli in the north, Umbria and Lazio in central Italy, as well as Campania, Calabria, Apulia, Basilicata and Sicily in the south.