News"Water War" on Lake Garda: What Italy vacationers need...

"Water War" on Lake Garda: What Italy vacationers need to know now

Created: 08/11/2022, 04:55 am

Heat and hardly any rain in sight: Italy is affected by a historic drought. This also has an impact on holidaymakers.

Update from Wednesday, August 10th, 2022, 3:34 p.m .: Lake Garda in Italy has really dried up on some popular holiday beaches – this is shown by impressive drone shots. The “Jamaica Beach” near Sirmione is a popular travel destination for many German tourists. Extensive and rocky outcrops usually allow bathers to walk up to 100 meters into the lake.

But now the drone recordings of the news channel Local Team TV show a different picture: Due to the current drought, whole sections of the beach are without water, the rocks are now much larger than usual.

There is a similar picture on the opposite side of Lake Garda. “We are in very bad shape because we are at least a meter below normal. Of course we always have a little less water in summer. But now the water level has reached historic proportions,” explained Mauro Lavora, the owner of the lido dello Bionde, in an interview with Local Team TV . In some regions of Italy, drinking water has already been rationed due to the drought emergency (see first report).

“Water War” on Lake Garda: What travelers need to know now

First report from Tuesday, August 9th, 2022: Frankfurt/Rome – Italy is struggling with heat, drought, dryness and water shortages. There is a state of emergency in five regions between Milan, Lake Garda and Venice due to dryness and drought. Milan and Venice have turned off public drinking fountains to save water. The current year is the driest year in the southern European country since weather records began.

The heat in 2022 will make things difficult for the popular holiday destination of Germans. The drought severely restricts the lives of many Italians. In places like Pisa and Verona drinking water was rationed. The largest Italian river, the Po, hardly carries any water in some regions.

Lake Garda
size 370 square kilometers
Middle deep 136 meters
Average water temperature (surface) 13.4 degrees

Heat wave and drought in Italy – state of emergency declared, drinking water supply restricted

In places, the Po is even completely dried out. The river between the Cottian Alps and the Adriatic coast of Veneto is the most important lifeline for agriculture and the food industry.

Tourists should also pay attention to a few things: the water level in Lake Garda is currently about half a meter lower than a year ago, Pierlucio Ceresa from the Association of Municipalities on Lake Garda explained to the dpa in mid-July – nothing has changed.

Der Gardasee ist stark von der aktuellen Trockenheit betroffen. (Symbolbild)
Lake Garda is severely affected by the current drought. (Iconic image) © Wieslaw Jarek/Imago

Historic drought impacts tourism in Italy

However, the neighboring communities and the national regulatory authority have been at odds for weeks because water is being released into the Po via the locks. Several Italian media have already written of a “water war” to pump out the water.

For the Garda municipal association, this is unsustainable in the long run: “The river would need at least 500 additional cubic meters per second at the moment. The only thing we can achieve with this measure is that Lake Garda also gets sick,” Ceresa complained.

Drought in Italy leads to ‘water war’ on Lake Garda

With a view to the sinking water level on Lake Garda, Ceresa therefore warned to check the water depth if, for example, you want to jump into the lake from rocks. Otherwise, however, there are only a few restrictions for holidaymakers. In other regions of Italy, however, things are different.

In Verona, citizens are only allowed to use drinking water during the day for cooking, drinking, cleaning and personal hygiene. Between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m. it is forbidden to water gardens and sports fields or to fill up swimming pools. Penalties of up to 500 euros are threatened. These measures apply until August 31st.

“Water war” in Italy – that’s what tourists on Lake Garda and in Tuscany need to know now

In other cities, too, citizens were asked to refrain from activities that use a lot of water. In Lombardy, with Milan as the metropolis, air conditioning systems must not be set below 26 degrees, green spaces and sports fields are no longer watered.

The state of emergency could also be extended to other regions in central Italy, which would also affect Tuscany: Some cities, such as Pisa, have already taken the first measures here. In the Tuscan city, for example, drinking water may only be used in the household.

Persistent drought in Italy: Italians hoard mineral water

Problems can also arise with the supply of mineral water. The mineral water industry is now sounding the alarm that supply could become scarcer. Due to drinking water restrictions, Italians have started hoarding bottled water.

Large forest fires are also common in Italy. Only sustained rainfall could defuse the situation. But improvement is not in sight for the time being: For the next two weeks, the website reports only lower chances of rain and temperatures that continue to scratch the 40-degree mark. (con)

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