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Italy to set up task force to tackle drought

Italy prepares national plan to combat water crisis.

The Italian government is preparing a decree to tackle the effects of drought after a winter of little or no rainfall, by creating a special commissioner and task force to address the problem.

The announcement came on Wednesday following a meeting in Rome chaired by premier Giorgia Meloni and involving several government ministers, reports La Stampa newspaper.

The "extraordinary commissioner" will have executive powers and the task force will involve a number of ministries, including agriculture and the environment, as part of a national response to the water crisis.

Parallel to the decree, which will allow emergency action to be taken as required, the government will roll out an "awareness campaign promoting the responsible use of water resources", according to a statement from Palazzo Chigi.

The move comes a week after the Legambiente environmental group warned that the river Po has 61 per cent less water than normal for this time of year.

The vast Po Basin, irrigated by Italy's longest river, produces about a third of the country's agricultural produce.

The drought alarm comes as Lake Garda water levels drop low enough to let people reach the small island of San Biagio by foot.

Cover image: Lake Garda 19 February 2023. Photo credit: Daniele Bregoli /

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