Increase in leaks adding to Italy’s water crisis, report shows

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Italy is wasting more of its water from leaky aqueducts, leaving the country increasingly vulnerable to droughts, national statistics bureau ISTAT revealed.
Scientists and environmental groups have raised concerns about Italian water shortages in January after a sharp drop in snowfall was recorded on the Alps and unusually low tides left Venice's canals dry, Reuters reported.
In 2008, the water leakage rates were 10% lower.
"A town in four has water losses above 55% and in five areas out of seven the leaks are increasing," ISTAT researcher Simona Ramberti said.
Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin said in an interview that the government was readying a €7.8 billion package to face the water crisis.
Last year, 15 large towns and cities were forced to adopt water rationing, compared with 11 in 2020, ISTAT said in its report.
"Rationing used to be limited to the south, but in 2021 it arrived in the north too," said Ramberti, adding that this was "a sign of major vulnerability" in the years to come.
Italy draws more water for drinking from its rivers, lakes and reservoirs than any other European Union country, ISTAT said.
Some 30% of this comes from the River Po, which runs for more than 650 kilometres (404 miles) west to east across northern Italy, feeding the fertile Po Valley.
In February last year the Po had 61% less water than was normal for the time of year, according to environmentalist group Legambiente, after the area suffered its worst drought for 70 years.

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