Italy’s water Crisis
Five roads meet in the Tuscan hills
Parched fields stretch into the distance near Pienza, Tuscany, at the end of the long hot summer of 2017. This was Italy’s driest for sixty years with rainfall an alarming 80 percent below the historic average.
Sun bleached fields in Crete Sensei
Summer 2017 saw agriculture suffer as fields dried up. Satellite data showed that although Tuscany regularly experiences drier than normal conditions, the situation in 2017 was particularly intense and persistent.
Water pools between the folds of the Tuscan hills
Northern Italy receives twice as much rain as the south with central Italy, including Tuscany, receiving around 22 percent of Italy’s total precipitation—around 31.5 inches (800mm) per year.
A water fountain stands idle
Most Italian cities have public drinking fountains that have provided free drinking water for hundreds of years. Today, in the center of Florence, some of these fountains are being switched off.
A girl drinks from a water fountain
Public drinking fountains often run continuously whether people are drinking from them or not. Usually the unused water is wasted, pouring into storm drains to be carried away rather than recycled.
Art and utility combined
This beautifully crafted water fountain stands dull and dry in a side street of the small walled city of Castiglion Fiorentino. Such fountains were once symbolic of public service and plentiful water.
The Chiana Canal stretches into the distance
The Chiana Canal was dug to drain swampland. Thirty years ago, this river was in full flow and had an abundance of fish but now it often dries up completely during the summer months.
A leaky tap at a country house
A typical tap delivers around 3.5 gallons (16 liters) of water every minute, while it’s estimated that a leaky tap can waste around 4,000 gallons (20,000 liters) of water a year.
A child washes dishes in a sink
Pre-rinsing dishes under a running tap remains a widespread practice despite being largely unnecessary thanks to dishwashers. It’s an act that wastes up to eight gallons (38 liters) of water each time we do it.
Loading a dishwasher after a family meal
Dishwashers filter and recycle water, using on average 2.6 gallons (12 liters per load) compared to nearly 27 gallons (122 liters) for handwashing in the sink.