Drought, there is a water crisis in the country and there are 7.8 billion blocked by bureaucracy

Drought, there is a water crisis in the country and there are 7.8 billion blocked by bureaucracy

An inter-ministerial control room called to define an extraordinary water plan in agreement with the Regions and territorial bodies. A decree law with simplifications and derogations to speed up essential works. And a commissioner "with executive powers" to quickly execute what is planned. It is a three-step program that the Italian government led by Giorgia Meloni is ready to implement against the drought. A scourge that is putting a strain on the agri-food and hydroelectric sectors.

There are 300,000 companies operating in the most affected areas, according to Coldiretti, which raised the alarm: 2023 has so far been the hottest year ever. The data from the Cnr reveal that in January and February a temperature was recorded that was 1.44 degrees higher than the historical average of the first two months. Northern Italy continues to suffer, with below-average rainfall in the first two months of the year, after the 30% less rain recorded in 2022. And with the Po in trouble and the large lakes having filling percentages of 19% of Lake Como to 36% of Lake Garda, up to 40% of Lake Maggiore.

In Veneto, at the end of February, the reservoirs in the two main basins (Adige and Piave) had a deficit of 33 and 59%. The president of the Region, Luca Zaia, ran for cover, signing an ordinance effective last Tuesday night which invites citizens to avoid wasting water and concessionaires to prepare emergency plans for supply.

It is an attempt to avoid the dreaded rationing. A goal that the Government also sets itself. "On the water crisis we are activating a control room to prevent the phenomenon before it explodes," Meloni said yesterday at Question Time in the Chamber. At work on the dossier, in addition to Palazzo Chigi, there are many ministries. At the forefront is that of Infrastructures, with the owner and deputy premier Matteo Salvini who aspires to coordinate the table and who has meanwhile announced seven decrees which finance the district authorities with 19.8 million destined for 21 interventions for new dams or new uses and for works to protect the salt wedge at the mouth of the Po. Also directly involved are the Environment and Energy Security, Agriculture, Civil Protection, European Affairs and Pnrr, Regional Affairs. A polyphony that reflects the transversal nature of the theme, to the point that Anbi, the national association for reclamation and irrigation, proposes a Ministry of Water, like in Spain.

The need estimated by the Executive to attack the problem amounts to 7.8 billion. A sum which, as underlined by the Minister of Agriculture, Francesco Lollobrigida, is already available, between Pnrr and other EU and national funds, but "is blocked by bureaucracy". Proof of this is that of the 4 billion dedicated in the Pnrr, only 300 million have been committed and that of the 1.2 billion in the 2014-2020 European programming, only 200 million have been used. That's why alongside the turbo on the works - starting from the reservoirs to collect rainwater (today only 11% is put into the system for agricultural and irrigation uses) and the reduction of losses (the dispersion reaches up to 50%) - spending power needs to be strengthened. And simplify. This will be the task of the decree law in gestation, which will soon arrive in the Council of Ministers. Along with another choice that must bring together ministers and majority parties: that of the commissioner's name.

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