Water crisis in Southern Europe: Severe droughts and scarce rain force water restrictions | DW News

DW News published this video item, entitled “Water crisis in Southern Europe: Severe droughts and scarce rain force water restrictions | DW News” – below is their description.

Amplified by human-induced climate change and water over-consumption, southern Europeans are feeling the consequences of more extreme heat waves and longer droughts. Now governments from Portugal to Italy are calling on citizens to limit water use to the bare minimum. But in some places this is not enough. While private consumption of water in the EU accounts for just 9% of total usage, around 60% is absorbed by agriculture.

The situation is probably most dramatic in northern Italy, where the region is suffering its worst drought in 70 years. More than 100 cities have been called on to limit water consumption as much as possible. On Monday, the Italian government declared a state of emergency for five regions until the end of the year. It plans to provide €36 million ($37 million) in the short term to combat the water crisis. Due to months of drought and scarce winter rain, the water levels of the Dora Baltea and Po — the largest river in Italy — are eight times lower than usual. Both rivers feed one of the most important agricultural regions in all of Europe, with 30% of production currently threatened by drought. The irrigation authority in the northwestern region around the Sesia river has already ordered that fruit trees and poplars no longer be watered. The saved water will be used to irrigate the economically important rice crop.

The mayor of the city of Verona has announced that watering gardens and sports fields, washing cars and patios, and filling pools and swimming pools is now prohibited until the end of August to safeguard drinking water supplies. Vegetable gardens may only be watered at night. Pisa is also resorting to rationing. As of this month drinking water can only be used “for domestic use and personal hygiene.” Failure to comply will result in fines of up to 500 euros ($516). In Milan, meanwhile, all decorative water fountains have been turned off. The mayor of the small town of Castenaso wants to tackle the problem unconventionally: He has banned hairdressers and barbers from washing their customers’ hair twice. There are 10 hairdressers in the small town of 16,000 inhabitants, with the measure aiming to save thousands of liters of water per day.

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