Drought crisis: why it is a problem if the sea water goes up the Po

No rainfall, high temperatures and little snow during the winter season. These are mainly the three factors that led to the Po river to a serious one Drought, linked to climate crisiswhich hadn’t been seen for at least 70 years old. And that will have dramatic consequences, both for the irrigation of the fields, and for the hydroelectric plants for energy, and, finally, for the supply ofdrinking water. Furthermore, further complicating this scenario is the fact that the little water available risks not being usable anyway. This is because, again as a consequence of the intense drought, the salty waters of the sea are rising in the branches of the Po delta.

In general, in fact, we know that when the flow of a river is too weak, the salt water of the sea, the so-called saline wedgegoes up along the river bed and permeates the ground beyond its banks, contaminating groundwater and thus making the little water available useless for many applications. A problem already widely observed previously: how he explained in 2020 Franco Dalle Vaccheformer president of the Ferrara Plain Reclamation Consortium, “The rising of the salt water, called saline wedge, in the branches of the Po Delta is a big problem, which is accentuated by the drought and by an irregular regimen; it contaminates the groundwater and in the most serious situations renders the water useless for drinking purposes and for the irrigation of soils which, however, being characterized by a strong sandy component, facilitate the infiltration of salt water “. In the lasts 20 yearsunderlined the expert, the sea water managed to go up almost 30 kilometers along the mouths, in particular in the secondary branches, and entered the hinterland, putting thousands of hectares and farms at risk, due to the presence of higher values ​​of salinity.

Recent measurements have shown that the rise of salt water from the delta del After, coming from the Adriatic Sea, has now reached about 20 kilometers and the situation is likely to worsen further in the coming weeks. TO tell it in recent days it was the Anbi, National Association of Consortia for the protection and management of the territory and irrigation water, according to which the irrigations in some areas, mobile emergency pumps for the survival of crops were put into action. However, not only agriculture is at risk, but also drinking water. “It is an invisible phenomenon, but it is upsetting the environmental balance of the Polesian delta”explained Francesco Vincenzi, President of the PNA. “If the situation persists, the first aquifers destined for drinking will be contaminated”.

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