State of Emergency Set to be Declared in Italian Alps as Drought Worsens

There has been no rain for almost 4-months in places. It follows a winter that saw snowfall levels down 70%, so there has also been precious little meltwater filling the rivers and reservoirs.

It is the worst drought in 70 years and the Italian government is set to announce a state of emergency.

The ski provinces of Lombardy, Piedmont and Venice are badly affected.

The Aosta Valley is faring slightly better, but remains in need of rain.

Castello di Sarre, Aosta Valley

Castello di Sarre, Aosta Valley. Image © PlanetSKI.

Some areas in the Italian Alps have already introduced their own restrictions with no water allowed for non-domestic use and fines up to €500 for those who break the rules.

The situation is critical in Piedmont, where some areas haven’t seen any rain for nearly four months.

Water companies last week asked mayors in 100 towns in Piedmont  to suspend night time drinking water supplies to replenish reservoir levels.

A further 25 have been asked in Lombardy

Local authorities say the situation is “extremely delicate”.

The River Po which starts in the north west Alps and stretches across the north of the country to Venice is badly affected as we reported earlier on PlanetSKI:

The snow in the Alps in Piedmont and Lombardy has totally run out,” said Utilitalia, a federation of water companies.

The river is so low that a sunken World War II barge is now jutting out from the water.

The Zibello transported supplies during the war and in 1943 it sank near the village of Gualtieri.

In the past just the bow of the vessel was seen when the river levels dropped.

Now much more of the 164-foot-long boat can be seen.

PlanetSKI was based in Aosta from January to March 2022 and it barely snowed at all during that time.

“In terms of snowfall it was one of the worst many locals could remember with no significant snowfall in the six weeks PlanetSKI was based in the Aosta Valley,” said the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove.

“We were all pleased simply to be skiing again after Covid-19 restrictions eased but fresh snow would have been more than welcome.”

Those people heading to the Italian mountains this summer will be affected unless the situation changes significantly.

The national government prepares to announce the state of emergency and to confirm what drought prevention measures will be taken.