Farm­ers suf­fer

Wa­ter ra­tioning pos­si­ble

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - CLASSIFIEDS - "440$*"5&% 13&44

Rome and its wa­ter com­pany are work­ing hard to avoid ra­tioning dur­ing a na­tion­wide drought, Italy’s en­vi­ron­ment min­is­ter has said.

Scarce rain and chron­i­cally leaky aque­ducts have com­bined this sum­mer to hurt farm­ers in much of Italy and put Ro­mans at risk for dras­tic wa­ter ra­tioning.

But En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Gian Luca Gal­letti told reporters that while Rome’s sit­u­a­tion “wor­ries me most” both the city and the Acea wa­ter util­ity are “work­ing out a so­lu­tion that can avoid hav­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of Ro­man cit­i­zens go with­out wa­ter.”

He called that sce­nario “un­ac­cept­able.” Gal­letti also de­cried as “in­tol­er­a­ble” chronic leaks that lose some 40 per cent of the wa­ter sup­ply be­fore it reaches users.

Last week, the gover­nor of Lazio, the re­gion in­clud­ing Rome, or­dered a halt to draw­ing wa­ter from the drought­suf­fer­ing Lake Brac­ciano, which sup­plies 8 per cent of Rome’s wa­ter. Gov. Ni­cola Zin­garetti urged Acea to find wa­ter from other reser­voirs in­stead. Dras­ti­cally de­creas­ing wa­ter lev­els are pos­ing dan­ger to the aquatic life of the lake, 40 kilo­me­tres (25 miles) from the city.

Me­te­o­rol­o­gists say Italy ex­pe­ri­enced one of its dri­est springs in some 60 years and that some parts of the coun­try had seen rain­fall to­tals 80 per cent be­low nor­mal. Among the hard­est-hit re­gions is Sar­dinia, which is seek­ing nat­u­ral dis­as­ter sta­tus.

The Farm­ers’ lobby Coldiretti has es­ti­mated 2 bil­lion eu­ros ($2.3 bil­lion) worth of dam­age so far to Ital­ian agri­cul­ture. Dairy farm­ers are lament­ing drops in milk pro­duc­tion. Among those suf­fer­ing are farm­ers grow­ing toma­toes in the south­east­ern re­gion of Puglia, wine grapes through­out much of Italy and those cul­ti­vat­ing olives - all sig­na­ture crops for the na­tion.

An­other af­flicted area is Parma, an area in north-cen­tral Italy renowned for Parmi­giano Reg­giano cheese and prized pro­sciutto.

Ear­lier this week, Vat­i­can City turned off its foun­tains due to the drought.

In Rome famed, mon­u­men­tal foun­tains beloved by tourists risk be­ing turned off.

Rome had 26 rainy days in this year’s first six months, com­pared to 88 in the first half of 2016, with pre­cip­i­ta­tion to­tals in those same pe­ri­ods more than four times higher last year.

Mak­ing mat­ters worse, wa­ter sup­ply pipe­lines in the Rome area - famed in an­cient Ro­man times for its aque­ducts, seg­ments of which still stand - are no­to­ri­ously leaky.

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