Italy’s canals and rivers run dry as the nation faces low tide and drought alert

Many canals in Venice, Italy have dried up because of low tides and weeks of dry winter weather. Usually threatened by flooding, the city is now facing a severe drought where water levels of Italian rivers and lakes have dropped to record lows.

Italian environmental group Legambiente said in a statement that The Po, Italy’s longest river that runs from the Alps to the Adriatic, has 61% less water than normal at this time of year.  

The prolonged stretch of ebb tides is linked to a lingering high-pressure weather system over Italy, according to experts. They added that Italy could face another drought after previous summer’s emergency, with half of normal snowfall in the Alps.

In 2022, Italy declared a state of emergency as a severe heat wave threatened agriculture and power supplies. Then prime minister Mario Draghi linked this “the deterioration of the environment and the climate situation”.

Climate expert Massimiliano Pasqui from Italian scientific research institute, CNR said, “We are in a water deficit situation that has been building up since the winter of 2020-2021.” He added that 500mm in the north western regions needed to be recovered, which was about 50 days of rain.

Latest weather forecasts, however, have signalled the arrival of snow and precipitation in the Alps in coming days.