This meeting will discuss the phenomenon of drought, climate change, prevention and management of emergencies with experts dedicated to research on climate and water cycle-related activities and experienced in the planning and prevention of the phenomenon.
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Mauro Grassi, EWA – Earth Water Agenda Foundation
The Drought in Italy: an overview
Alessandra Pesce, CREA – Consiglio per la ricerca in Agricoltura – Politiche e Bioeconomia
CREA research for water resources
Luca Dal Fabbro, UTILITALIA – Federazione Utilities
Paola Mercogliano, CMCC – Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change
Assessing the impact of local climate change in Italy on Water Management: Historical trends with multi-model projections from regional climate models
Raffaella Zucaro, CER – Canale Emiliano Romagnolo
Water saving, drought management and ecosystem services, how to find a balance. The experience of CER in nothern Italy
Raffaella Pergamo, CREA – Consiglio per la ricerca in Agricoltura – Politiche e Bioeconomia
Italian Strategic Cap Plan and water resources
Rudy Rossetto, Università – Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna
Managed aquifer recharge: a solution to adapt to climate change.
Emanuele Romano, CNR-IRSA – Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche, Water Research Institute
Facing drought and water scarcity: what is the role of the scientific institutions?
Fernando Nardi, WARREDOC – Water Resources Research and Documentation Center
Transdisciplinary nexus approaches and citizen engagement for achieving water security facing climate and social-cultural change
Marianna Ferrigno – Veronica Manganiello, CREA – Consiglio per la ricerca in Agricoltura – Politiche e Bioeconomia
Dania and Sigrian databases to support sustainable water use for agriculture
Luigi Petta, ENEA – Agenzia nazionale per lo sviluppo sostenibile
Addressing Water stress and droughts: ENEA activities towards a circular economy approach in water management
Adriano Battilani, ANBI – Associazione nazionale Bonifiche e Irrigazioni
Infrastructuring and governing agricultural water network: the key to achieving resilience to recurrent drought impacts on agro-ecosystems.
Andrea Ferone, SUEZ Italia
Suez experience in desalination reverse osmosis
Italy is a country with an above-normal rainfall pattern. Precipitation, both in the form of rain and snow, reaches an average level over the last twenty years of almost 1000 mm per square metre. Just for comparisons, it is enough to say that in the world the average is 969 mm while in Europe it is around 856 mm.
Italy lags behind in sustainable water management: among European countries, it is the most water-stressed, as it uses, on average, between 30% and 35% of its renewable water resources, compared to the European efficiency objective of not extracting more than 20% of available renewable water resources.
Even if withdrawal for anthropogenic uses (agriculture, industry and civil) is around 35 billion m3 of water against a volume of precipitation of around 300 billion m3, just over 11%, it must be considered that not all rain and snow becomes water available to humans. The phenomenon of evapotranspiration takes away a good chunk of it, which is growing in a period of continuous temperature rise, and another important part is destined to keep the ecological system ‘alive, beautiful and healthy’, which should not be depleted and which depends for its sustainability on the presence of water in adequate quantity and quality. Consumption accounts for just under 78% of water withdrawals due to losses amounting to around 22% of the total withdrawal, and of these losses 17% occur in the agricultural sector and 40% in the civil sector.
Rain therefore falls on average sufficiently but with variability that is in some ways structural, typical of a country with a Mediterranean climate, and in another way increasing due to the effects of climate change on the water cycle.
The first variability concerns the level of annual precipitation. Looking at the last twenty years, we go from a precipitation peak in 2010 with over 275 billion m3 of water to a bottom in 2022 with just 210 billion m3. It is a considerable difference of over 160 billion m3 of resource. In the last twenty years, seven drought events have been recorded in the country, more or less widespread and of varying severity. Even the current year, 2023, does not seem to promise anything good. It would be the first case of a drought event repeating itself in two successive years with a ‘cascading’ effect destined to cause damage to agriculture but also to hydroelectric production and civil use. The 2022 drought is estimated to have cost the community more than 11 billion euros: 6 in agriculture, 5 in electricity production and 500 million in civil emergencies.
The second variability concerns the difference between territories. It does not rain in the same way in every region: it ranges from 1650 mm in Friuli Venezia Giulia to just over 600 in Puglia. A very high difference that already speaks to us, pending greater effects of climate change, of structural criticality in normal periods in the south of the country. Where, in fact, there is less agriculture linked to irrigation practices than in northern Italy.
The third variability concerns the difference between seasons and therefore between the different months of the year. Here too there is a peak in November with 125 mm and a low in July with 48 mm, demonstrating the typical structure of Italy linked to the Mediterranean climate with strong differences between summer and autumn-winter climates. This variability brings with it a probability, destined to increase with climate change, of the occurrence of drought phenomena in certain places, perhaps not always the same ones, of the country.
Mauro Grassi, Erasmo D’Angelis, Alessandra Pesce, Raffaella Pergamo, Marianna Ferrigno, Veronica Manganiello, Raffaella Zucaro
Marta Iozzelli, Jackeline Canevello, Silvia Baralla, Francesco Ambrosini, Francesco Cavazza