Water crisis: what it is and how it can be solved

21 February 2023

The water crisis sweeping Italy and the rest of the world

In recent years, in Italy and around the world, the ongoing major water crisis is causing significant hydrogeological and environmental damage. This is an extreme climatic event, as well as yet another consequence of the climate crisis: in fact, one of the repercussions of it is the alternation of extreme weather events such as the alternation of floods and inundations with moments of extreme drought and water shortages.
This weather alternation gradually becomes more and more pronounced, creating quite a few social, economic and environmental hardships.

Globally, drought accounts for 5 percent of natural disasters, affecting 1.1 billion people, while, looking at Italy, according to ISAC-CNR data, 2022 was the driest year since 1800 with a 30 percent deficit. The drought, alternating with heavy hailstorms, tornadoes and floods is causing a very serious water crisis, the effects of which are now obvious. Just think of the enormous drop in the Po River's water level (3.7 m below normal), the steady retreat of the Mont Blanc and Marmolada glaciers, and the scarcity of rain and snow that has characterized the winters of recent years.

What is water scarcity and what distinguishes it from drought?


Water scarcity is a phenomenon characterized by a decrease in available water over a particular period of time and in a particular area, which can also be non-arid and caused by the frequent succession of dry spells.
In fact, drought is a natural phenomenon that occurs when the amount of precipitation in a specific area decreases compared to what, from a climatological point of view, would be expected. The term "water scarcity" thus refers to the fact that the demand for water is greater than what is available.

This becomes problematic when such drought periods become more frequent and extreme, causing a water deficit that negatively impacts agriculture, aquifer recharge and stream flow. This prolonged deficit causes a water crisis situation, which in turn leads to extensive socio-economic and environmental damage.
Thus, while drought used to be a natural and temporary phenomenon today it is often a consequence of human actions, such as pollution, water wastage and mismanagement of water resources.

What are the factors contributing to the water crisis?


The factors contributing to the water crisis are many and complex: as already written, cases of extreme drought are one of the many consequences of climate change. Nevertheless, there are also additional factors that exacerbate the situation. In the case of Italy, although it is a country rich in waterways, the management of water resources in agriculture and industry turns out to be unwise and inefficient: 

  • insufficient maintenance of water networks causes water to leak into distribution networks;
  • the use of treatment plants that are not always efficient causes the release of pollutants used in agriculture (fertilizers and pesticides), industries (such as arsenic, heavy metals and dioxin) and urban centers. Pollutants inevitably end up in rivers damaging water resources and contributing to exacerbating the ongoing water crisis.


Water crisis solutions and interventions


There are no simple solutions to solve the water crisis as it is necessary to act at the source of the climate crisis.This is an absolutely complex emergency situation, as the causes are multiple and interlinked. However, some actions can be implemented to be able to mitigate the problem, such as:



Idro's commitment to combat the water crisis in Italy and around the world


For years Idro Group has been committed within the Global Impact project to the proper management of water, to the use of advanced and sustainable technologies and to environmental recovery. The correct purification and treatment of water resources represent an indispensable step in order to survive the water crisis that is affecting Italy and the rest of the world. This is a common responsibility that both companies and public agencies operating mainly in the agricultural sector, the industrial sector and the civil sector must assume.

If you would like more information about the water purification and treatment plants that Idro Group realizes, please fill out the form in the contact section: you will be contacted as soon as possible!

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