Climate: ANBI says 20% of Italy at risk of desertification

Says to invest in water supply to adapt to climate change

17 June, 12:00

    (ANSAmed) - ROMA, 17 GIU - A full 20% of Italy's territory is at risk of desertification, said ANBI, the national association of consortiums that manage river and lake basins, on the occasion of UN World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, which takes place Thursday. It said new reservoirs must be built to collect rainwater and work needs to be done to eliminate leaks in aqueducts.

    The 2020 Drylands, Deserts and Desertification Conference sponsored by Ben-Gurion University in Israel confirmed that more than 1,300 hectares of arable land are lost each year due to drought and desertification.

    According to the World Atlas of Desertification, over 75% of the earth's surface has already deteriorated and this figure could rise to 90% by 2050.

    In the European Union, 8% of land across 13 countries is at risk of desertification.

    The areas most at risk are in Spain, southern Italy, Malta, Cyprus, southeastern Greece and the areas of Bulgaria and Romania along the Black Sea.

    The European Court of Auditors estimated that the southern, central and eastern areas of the continent face a high or very risk of desertification.

    It said between 2008 and 2017, areas at high or very high risk rose by 10.6%, increasing by 177,000 square km for a total of 645,000 square km.

    ANBI Director General Massimo Gargano highlighted the importance of the hydraulic network.

    "The ecosystemic function of the 200,000 km of the hydraulic network, which must be adapted to the climate crisis, is essential," Gargano said.

    "Our Efficiency Plan for the Hydraulic Network includes 729 operations for special maintenance, based on defined, executive projects capable of creating nearly 12,000 jobs, thanks to an investment of nearly 2.365 billion euros," he said. (ANSAmed).

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