Italy decreed a state of emergency in five northern regions on Monday and announced that it will allocate 36.5 million euros to deal with the drought that has plagued the Padana plain for weeks.

The Council of Ministers approved the state of emergency in Emilia-Romagna, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Lombardy, Venice and Piedmont until December 31, the government announced in a statement.

The Italian peninsula is facing an unusually early heat wave, accompanied by a lack of rainfall, especially in the Padana agricultural plain (north), which is going through its worst drought in 70 years.

The state of emergency seeks to provide “the extraordinary means and powers” to guarantee that the necessary urgent interventions are carried out, in order to safeguard public security, repair damages suffered by public and private property and guarantee the normal living conditions of the population. population.

According to the largest agricultural union in the country, Coldiretti, the drought threatens more than 30% of the national agricultural production and half of the cattle of the Padana Plain, where Parma ham is produced, among others.

Lakes Maggiore and Lake Garda have lower than normal levels for this time of year, and further south, the level of the Tiber River, which crosses Rome, has also dropped.

The Po River represents the largest water reserve on the peninsula, and much of it is used for agricultural purposes.

In recent days, several municipalities have announced restrictive measures, such as Verona (250,000 inhabitants) which has begun to ration the use of drinking water; or Milan, which announced the closure of its decorative fountains.

In addition, due to the drought, the production of hydroelectric energy has fallen sharply.

Hydroelectric installations, located mostly in the mountainous massifs of the north of the country, are responsible for almost 20% of the national energy production.

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