Italy Announces €3.9B Investment in Water Infrastructure

The funds will be used to fix leaks, digitalize water management systems, renew irrigation channels and reinforce water systems in earthquake-prone areas.
Irrigation canal in Emilia Romagna, Italy
By Paolo DeAndreis
Oct. 24, 2022 13:36 UTC

Italian author­i­ties announced that €3.9 bil­lion would be spent to improve water infra­struc­ture and reduce leaks in cities and agri­cul­tural areas. The goal of the European Union-sup­ported plan is to increase the coun­try’s resilience to the effects of cli­mate change.

The Italian gov­ern­men­t’s water infra­struc­ture strat­egy is a long-term plan to strengthen water secu­rity. Officials said sus­tain­abil­ity, cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion are cru­cial for approv­ing new infra­struc­ture projects.

Of those funds, €2.9 bil­lion will come from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, which is deployed as part of the European Union’s NextGenerationEU strat­egy. The rest is financed by Rome.

See Also:Growers and Producers in Italy Anticipate a Challenging Harvest

Approximately 60 per­cent of the total will go to projects in south­ern Italy where urgent main­te­nance work is needed on reser­voirs, aque­ducts, agri­cul­tural water net­works and irri­ga­tion chan­nels.

This work includes secur­ing the water sup­ply, iden­ti­fy­ing and repair­ing leaks, dig­i­tally mon­i­tor­ing water net­works (includ­ing new aque­ducts, reser­voirs and dams) and renew­ing irri­ga­tion chan­nels.

Ten per­cent of the funds will be used to rein­force water net­works at risk of earth­quake dam­age.

The Ministry of Infrastructure said that improv­ing the qual­ity of ser­vice pro­vided to cit­i­zens, indus­try and agri­cul­ture” is its main goal. Approximately 1,000 kilo­me­ters of new water chan­nels are expected to be built.

The lat­est data pub­lished by the National Institute of Statistics (Istat) show that the coun­try’s water net­works lose about 37 per­cent of the water vol­umes they man­age every year to leaks.

For exam­ple, Istat noted that water losses per kilo­me­ter of major cities’ water net­works reached 41 cubic meters each day in 2020.

Due to the cur­rent state of the water chan­nels, the lack of snow in the pre­vi­ous win­ter and the scarcity of rain­fall which exac­er­bated the effects of a record drought, many areas of Italy have faced water scarcity in recent months.

Farmers have also dealt with lim­ited water avail­abil­ity for irri­ga­tion, with sig­nif­i­cant losses of sta­ple crops and lower yields reported.

In its pre­sen­ta­tion, the min­istry warned that esti­mates show that pre­cip­i­ta­tion will tend to reduce while tem­per­a­tures will get higher, espe­cially in the south­ern regions.”

At the same time, extreme weather events such as floods, drought and heat­waves will hap­pen more often and become more intense,” the min­istry added. They are des­tined to become harsher in the future. Such phe­nom­ena will accel­er­ate the water cycle with a grow­ing dif­fer­ence between win­ter and sum­mer events.”

Broad in scope, the new water infra­struc­ture plan is seen as a sig­nif­i­cant step in the long-term process of adapt­ing to the chang­ing cli­mate.

The Italian gov­ern­ment, which changed after September’s gen­eral elec­tion, warned in the Ministry of Infrastructure’s pre­sen­ta­tion that €3.9 bil­lion would not be enough.

The tech­ni­cal offices of the min­istry con­firmed that to com­plete the plan and bring the Italian water sys­tem to the needed lev­els,” €3 bil­lion more would have to be invested in the com­ing years.


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