Warmer winters and less rainfall have dried up southern Europe, which has resulted in various hardships over the continent, especially in France and Italy. The ongoing Water scarcity in Italy, France and other major European countries is threatening this year’s harvests as it can further result in a food crisis.
The last few summers in Europe have been extremely hot, especially for the past four years, causing various significant water sources like lakes and rivers to dry up.
In Italy alone, the water shortage has already destroyed a large proportion of rice harvest in just a few weeks, leaving the other rice harvesting regions in worry as their condition will be the same if they don’t get enough moisture in upcoming weeks. In some countries, water supply restrictions had to be put in place.
Due to the climate crisis and increasing temperatures, dry periods are becoming longer and are expected to become more intense in future, especially in summer. If there is also too little precipitation in winter, droughts will last longer, and the following summer will be even drier.
Authorities in France have already announced they may impose restrictions on water use in 87 municipalities in order to preserve water and avoid drought spells.
These measures include banning filling private swimming pools, which are usually only rolled out during extreme droughts at the height of summer.
Better water management is crucial for Italy and France. The EU has called on member states to better monitor water wastage and leaks, as well as invest in appropriate measures and data collection.
Lac de Montbel in southwest France is more than 80% empty, the boats of the local sailing club abandoned on dried brown banks. In northern Italy, tourists can now easily walk to the small island of San Biagio, previously only reachable by boat, from the shore of Lake Garda.
The water level is 70cm lower than average. A gigantic problem has given a wakening call to Europe; the outcome would be disastrous if ignored, and every individual has to contribute to counter the impacts caused by water shortage.