In 2022, with 67 billion cubic meters, the annual availability of water resources reached an all-time low in Italy, recording -50% compared to the average of the climatic thirty years 1951-2020 and -52% compared to the long-term average 1951 -2022. Thus the "National hydrological balance: focus on drought and natural availability of renewable water resources. Update to 2022" of the Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (Ispra).
The RBDs of Sicily (-80.7%), Sardinia, (-73%) and the River Po (-66%) were the most affected by the water deficit in 2022. On an annual scale, the 2022 drought was the third most severe and persistent since 1952preceded only by that of 1990 and that of 2002. The rate of evapotranspiration compared to the precipitation it has reached almost 70%, compared to a long-term average of 53%, and constitutes the maximum value from 1951 to today.
"There is a water Italy to mend" and "the commissioner's challenge will be to identify all the tools useful to the control room to mitigate the drought problem in about three years". This was stated by the extraordinary national commissioner for the adoption of urgent interventions connected to the phenomenon of water scarcity, Nicholas Dell'Acquaillustrating how he's working to help the control room deal with the drought problem from north to southduring the first meeting of the fifth edition of the Community Value Water for Italy Of The European House - Ambrosetti.
"The climate is changing and the approach to resource management must also change, now more than ever a precious asset to be distributed with care to the various users, with new programming logics that start from an essential tool: the water balance on a district scale", Dell'Acqua explained, anticipating that "to solve the drought problem in Italy, I will suggest three actions:
"Enhance the planning skills of the district authorities who, over the years, due to various vicissitudes and emergencies, have always dealt more with water quality than with planning the use of the resource with updated and detailed water balance sheets.
Use most of the economic resources to restore existing plants to the capacity for which they were designed and built, possibly also by replacing non-operating operators. In this way - explains Dell'Acqua - it will be possible to fill an extra two to three billion cubic meters of water throughout Italy, a solution that is not definitive but certainly of enormous help".
"Obviously - specified Dell'Acqua - a commissioner cannot, must not and does not want to intervene on rules, decrees and laws, but he can certainly remind the stakeholders that there is European legislation that already provides for all of this. The subjects who have to manage the water and governing the territory under this point are in fact already recognized by the water framework directive 2000/60/EC and are the district authorities of the basin, subjects governed by the ministries concerned and by the Regions of competence, involved in planning and programming on a district scale ".
According to the extraordinary commissioner for drought, "the water balance, supplemented by the reports on the water crisis of the observers of the districts wanted by the control room, therefore represents a fundamental management tool because it will make it possible to prevent water emergencies, to intervene promptly if there were an increase or , on the other hand, a scarcity of rains and to be ready even in the event of unexpected intense rainfalls such as those of recent times in Italy.Furthermore, it will also allow the government to intervene with works where these are really needed and carry out those water saving policies always most needed in the country".