Saturday, May 5, 2007

Italy's Largest River Drying Up

Reuters, via the Toronto Globe and Mail: "ROMEItaly declared a state of emergency in northern and central regions on Friday due to fears of drought following unusually warm and dry weather.

“Farmers have been fretting as Italy's largest river, the Po, has dried up in recent months. The river, running west to east across northern Italy, feeds the broad Po valley which accounts for about a third of the country's agricultural output.

“Environment Minister Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio said the state of emergency had been declared as a precautionary measure. It came a day after neighbouring France imposed water rationing in several of its regions, also in fear of drought.

Italy's hottest winter in 200 years meant snowfall was light in the Alps, with little snow-melt to swell the Po. Then a hot, dry spring set in, with temperatures in April approaching levels usually seen in June….

“Officials from the industry ministry, the national electricity grid, regional governments and emergency services met last month to discuss measures to replenish the Po and curb electricity consumption to prevent the risk of summer blackouts…”

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