In Sardinia, farmers are raising the alarm: there is an emergency due to drought and high temperatures

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If it’s not really an emergency, we’re close. Because the water crisis is also being felt in Sardinia. This is due to the drought but also to the temperatures that are rising and causing a greater consumption of water to irrigate fields and crops. The data provided by the monitoring carried out by the Basin Authority every month are not comforting: the artificial reservoirs of Sardinia’s multi-sector water system contain 49.7% of the maximum capacity, i.e. 906.36 million cubic meters on a maximum volume authorized of 1,824 million cubic meters of water.

A situation which, in some cases, has pushed towards restrictions, as happened in central Sardinia where on 12 January the Central Sardinia Reclamation Consortium banned the use of water for irrigation in all three of the sub-districts under its jurisdiction . A choice motivated by the fact that the stocks assigned by Enas on 1 January 2023 were now exhausted for 22 million for the Posada basin (Macheronis dam), 21 million for the Cedrino (Pedra and Othoni dam), 8 million cubic meters from Taloro for the sub-district of the Media Valle del Tirso”. Hence, as underlined by the president of the Consortium Ambrogio Guiso, the decision to proceed to “preserve the little remaining water”.

Luca Saba, general director of Coldiretti, the trade association which had also called for the declaration of a state of natural disaster, also underlines that the situation is worrying. Also because the first negative effects of this situation are starting to be seen in the countryside. «We experience a different situation compared to different areas of the region – he begins – says Saba -: because we find ourselves in some places where it has rained little both in terms of quantity and duration, and let’s say that it is the eastern band which from Olbia reaches up to Muravera, and the West one where the situation is better.” The result is that of crops in difficulty due to a scarce or lower water supply than in the past and basins that are in a phase considered pre-critical. The survey carried out by the authority certifies a further reduction from 2023 when there had already been the first early warning signs for drought (50%), but also of almost 10 percentage points less compared to December 2022, when the percentage reached at 60.2%.

The reduction affects Sulcis, with the upper Cixerri water system at 8.9% (a water shortage made up today by the Monte Pranu reservoir at 58.3%). The entire northern part of the island is also in trouble with the North Western water system reaching 24.5% and the Maccheronis dam in Posada which is just over 13%. Things are no better in Ogliastra: the Bau Muggeris (Flumendosa) and Santa Lucia reservoirs overall reach 25.8% of the maximum capacity of the two basins.

For all of these, the state indicator for monitoring and early warning of drought in December 2023 records the red “emergency” sign. This means that in addition to activating further restrictions on supplies “the average allowable supply under the ordinary regime must be re-evaluated”: meaning less water for non-domestic uses.

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