Italy: Lake Garda hit by worst drought in 15 years

Pedal boats have been stowed away from the water’s edge and catamarans have replaced hydrofoils as a drought hit Lake Garda in northern Italy at its lowest level in 15 years.

“Now we are 30 cm above the hydrographic mark, while the average for recent years was 80-100 cm higher during this period,” said Gianluca Ginepro, director of Garda Unico, an advertising company for Lake Garda.

“The situation needs to be kept under control, but at the moment there are no problems in terms of using the lake for activities such as sailing or windsurfing,” he said, assuring that tourism in the region is developing very well. .

The drought has also forced some transport lines between the shores of the lake to switch from hydrofoils to catamarans, Mr Ginepro adds.

People walk on August 16, 2022 on the rocks of the Sirmione peninsula on Lake Garda in Italy (AFP – MIGUEL MEDINA)

“We have somewhat lost the ability to provide water for agriculture,” admits Mr. Ginepro, also downstream of the lake, across the Mincio River.

Faced with the worst drought in 70 years, the Italian government declared a state of emergency in early July in several areas of the center and north of the country.

Covering an area of ​​about 367 square kilometers, the level of Lake Garda has still not reached the level of summer 2007, when, according to the Italian authority responsible for monitoring lakes, it was recorded 9.9 cm above the mark on the map. .

The drought that affected much of Europe caused, in addition to significant damage to agriculture, many fires.

Fires have destroyed 662,776 hectares of forest in the European Union since January 1, according to data updated on Sunday by the European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS), which has maintained comparable statistics since 2006 thanks to satellite imagery from Europe’s Copernicus program.

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