Severe Drought Threatens Italian Agriculture
July 1, 2022 (EIRNS)—After the increase in energy costs, another scourge is threatening Italian agriculture: a severe drought that has jeopardized 30% of total output already. The Draghi government has done nothing to prevent it, although the extreme weather had been forecast, so that all water reserves have been exhausted and no water can be drawn from natural and artificial reservoirs. Several cities have shut down public fountains and are introducing water rationing during the day.
Given the reduced capacity of the Po River, the Adriatic Sea has penetrated 30 km upstream the Italian Food Valley (Pianura Padana) in Northern Italy. According to Coldiretti, the largest national farmers association, production of animal feed has dropped by 45%; milk by 20%; durum wheat 30%; rice 30%; fruit 15%; mussels and clams 20%, the latter due to lack of water renewal in the Po Delta.
This dramatic situation, which has already produced a loss of €3 billion, is adding to the international food crisis which has jeopardized foreign supplies of wheat and maize and to the high energy and fertilizer costs. Agricultural fuel has reached a price of €1.60 per liter, an unbearable cost for farmers. Farmers are demanding government subsidies which have not come yet, at least not in the needed amount.
The second largest farmers association, Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori (CIA), has called for a list of urgent measures, mostly small-sized (rainwater collection, re-use of waste water etc.) but also “building new basins and reservoirs” and for “large desalination plants.” Unfortunately, even such good ideas are tainted by Climate Gretinism and Cretinism, as the CIA suggests powering the plants with solar panels.
Water expert Andrea Mangano, pioneer of the Transaqua project in Africa, told EIR that Italy is suffering from an earlier stopping of hydraulic projects that could have made the difference today. He mentioned the example of Florence, which is today unharmed by the drought thanks to the Bilancino Dam, inaugurated in 1999 on the Sieve River. The project was indeed launched in 1966, after the Arno River flood that devastated Florence, and it took 30 years to build! But finally, thanks to the dam and the reservoir, Florence may be the only major population center in Italy which will have potable water in the midst of the drought, throughout the summer.
The Apennine Mountains have plenty of similar potential opportunities, but unfortunately, environmentalist fanaticism has blocked similar projects in other localities. The situation is different in the Alps, but opportunities exist in the Italian-speaking Swiss canton of Ticino, where new reservoirs could be built through Italian-Swiss cooperation.
The easiest and most natural solution, however, is to exploit Italy’s 8,300 km of seacoast and build a few desalination plants along those coasts, powered by nuclear energy, not by stupid solar panels.
Unfortunately, Italy exited nuclear energy in 1986 and there is no short-term perspective for a comeback, unless there is a political earthquake. In that case, it could order a dozen floating nuclear plants from Russia....