Water in Italy

To help understand the water situation in Italy let’s begin in the Alps. Global warming effects precipitation in the Alps,as well as snow and rain , and the timing of the snow melt. An overall decrease in the snow pack has been observed in the 20th century at low and mid level ranges. Trends are less significant at the higher ranges. The changes affect stream flow in the mountains with a general trend toward an earlier snow melt.

With respect to water access Italians are pretty good with 100% of city dwellers and 97% of rural dwellers having access. 70% of the population has access to sanitation. Water is becoming a social and economic emergency in Apulia, Basilicata, Sicily , and Sardinia due to increasing demand and lack of management. Decreases in precipitation will make things worse , with  possibly a 25% increase in stress on the water supply this century.

The expected impact of climate change in southern Europe will be affecting the quantity, quality, and over all availability. This means more droughts can be expected. Also, it is noted the groundwater resources are dwindling , recharging in not happening to the degree it once did.

Southern Italy is having more trouble meeting demand. with droughts and increase in demand, especially from farms…irrigation becomes even more problematic. Economic damage to agriculture , especially in the Po Valley could become extensive.

So with respect to water stress in the coming years, Italy may face….

  1. an increase of stress on the water supply by 25% this century.
  2. socio-economic emergency in some specific areas.
  3. reduced water supplies affecting drinking water, irrigation in the Po Valley , and less water for power generation.
  4. increased soil dryness and drought.
  5. water quality depletion.
  6. conflicts over the multiple uses of water.
  7. navigation of lakes and rivers becomes more difficult due to lack of water.
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