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15 July 2024

Italy faces new drought alert as Venice canals run dry

Published
By WAM Rola AlGhoul/ Esraa Esmail

Weeks of dry winter weather have raised concerns that Italy could face another drought after last summer's emergency, with the Alps having received less than half of their normal snowfall, according to scientists and environmental groups.

The warning comes as Venice, where flooding is normally the primary concern, faces unusually low tides that are making it impossible for gondolas, water taxis and ambulances to navigate some of its famous canals, Reuters reported.

The problems in Venice are being blamed on a combination of factors -- the lack of rain, a high-pressure system, a full moon and sea currents.

Italian rivers and lakes are suffering from a severe lack of water, the Legambiente environmental group said on Monday, with attention focused on the north of the country.

The Po, Italy's longest river, which runs from the Alps in the northwest to the Adriatic, has 61% less water than normal at this time of year, it added in a statement.

Last July, Italy declared a state of emergency for areas surrounding the Po, which accounts for roughly a third of the country's agricultural production and suffered its worst drought for 70 years.