Environmental policiesPolicy and Affairs

Ok to the state of emergency for the drought for Italy

In this week the Italian government should also pass the decree Drought

(Sustainabilityenvironment.com) – The Italian government grants “extraordinary means and powers” to the regions to face the lack of water and allocates 36.5 million for the most urgent interventions. This was decided last night by the Council of Ministers with the declaration of the state of emergency for the drought in 5 regions of Northern Italy.

Beneficiaries of a state of emergency due to drought

For the moment, the state of emergency for drought concerns Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lombardia, Piemonte and Veneto. It will last until 31 December 2022. This was also requested by Lazio, which for the moment remains at the window, while the Umbria president Donatella Tesei made a request yesterday. To these two regions, the state of emergency could be extended already in the next few days.

The funds allocated will be used for “relief and assistance to the population concerned, and to restore the functionality of public services and infrastructure of strategic networks”.
Emilia-Romagna will receive the largest slice of cake, 10.9 million euros, followed by Lombardia with 9 million and Piemonte with 7.6 million. To follow, the Friuli Venezia Giulia will have to disposition 4,2 million and the Veneto 4,8 million euros. The government is prepared to raise funds if necessary.

What is state of emergency? These are emergency measures to give short-term relief to farms in distress, an estimated 27,000 in the five regions concerned, and to guarantee water supplies to the population. The structural measures to deal with similar situations in the future, however, will be decided by a special decree.

Towards the Decree Drought

In the coming days will be signed in fact the decree Drought, which should proceed to the appointment of an extraordinary commissioner and establish a plan for structural interventions of maintenance of water infrastructure, a large Achilles heel of the Italian system. Italian aqueducts disperse an average of 42 liters per 100 liters fed into the network, more than 5 times the European average (8 liters).

The draft decree continues to circulate on the desks of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Mobility, Ministry of Ecological Transition, Ministry of Agricultural Food and Forestry Policies, Public Administration, Regional Affairs and Economy. It gives the Special Commissioner the task of coordinating the interventions. The basic objective reads the draft of the decree Drought is “to ensure a sufficient water resource even in periods of drought”. To this end, the Commissioner “coordinates and oversees the planning and implementation of the necessary actions to mitigate the damage related to the phenomenon of drought and promotes the strengthening and adaptation of water structures”.

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These interventions will be organized in one or more extraordinary plans, arranged by the Commissioner, who will have to give priority to projects of interregional importance and to those immediately available. The decree establishes that “at least twenty priority actions to be carried out by 31 December 2024” are identified. Referring to the “big plan for water” in the pipeline, on July 1 Prime Minister Mario Draghi specified in a press conference that “many interventions are already provided for by the National Plan for Recovery and Resilience PNRR that for these targets allocates about 4 billion”. This is not enough: “We will have to increase the appropriations still further”.

The Commissioner will also have an emergency role. It will be able to establish the criteria by which the various basin authorities plan the management of water resources and will have the power to verify whether the regions implement adequate measures for water saving.

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