Saltier and more turbid: major rivers respond to climate change

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It’s not news that climate change can make a big impact on the volume of water available for civil, industrial and agricultural uses. Just as it’s not news that the problem could damage some regions of Italy, in particular the South, while the effect will be smaller where springs and waterways are abundant.

It is not just a question of hydraulic invariance, a topic on the agenda at Watec Italy, the event that will be hosted at CremonaFiere from 23 to 26 October. It’s also a matter of water quality.

Some recent studies by the Regional Agency for Environmental Prevention and Protection Veneto region have produced interesting results in monitoring the trend in the availability of water in aquifers, surface water and glaciers.

With the exception of the drastic decline suffered by the perennial snows in the Dolomites (45% less over the last 100 years, with a sharply accelerating decrease from the 1980s on), the data collected so far by Arpav shows that the ongoing climate change is not affecting the amount of water available in deep aquifers or flowing on the surface.

Rather, the occurrence of intense rainfall alternating with long dry periods poses a problem of water quality, with potential repercussions on farming, especially for the crops most sensitive to salinity.

During dry periods, the great rivers suffer the salt wedge from the sea. Then, when precipitation reaches flood intensity, the surface watercourses undergo a strong increase in turbidity and the deposit of significant quantities of gravel.

This is what happened, for example, with Vaia, the storm of rain and wind that ravaged northeast Italy in late October 2018, uprooting whole forests. Unfortunately the storm also caused the deposit of over 20 million cubic metres of gravel in the rivers. This poses risks of future flooding, requiring extraordinary maintenance work whose costs today often exceed the budgets of the Public Administration and the Reclamation Consortia.

Come to Watec Italy and you will be able to take part in a series of debates that define strategies for the management of water resources in the medium term. Stay tuned.

#Watec Italy #invarianza idraulica #salinità #agricoltura #CremonaFiere

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