"Water is gold", say the people hit hard by the drought

English Section / 4 martie

"Water is gold", say the people hit hard by the drought

Versiunea în limba română

Moments of crisis help us rediscover what really matters and what has value. The drought that is haunting Europe has made people return to better feelings about the vital water. The Italian island of Sicily is facing a severe drought, as the lack of winter rains has reduced the amount of water in reservoirs, and residents are forced to rely on drinking water. The island, which saw a European heat record of 48.8 degrees Celsius (119 degrees Fahrenheit) in 2021, declared a state of emergency, dozens of cities rationed water for agricultural and residential use and made supplies available only once in two days. "The water in Agrigento is gold," said Antonio, a local, adding that he regularly fills tanks and bottles from the town's nearest well. The world is facing its hottest February on record, after eight consecutive record temperatures, with devastating effects on access to water globally. Agriculture in Sicily, one of Europe's southernmost regions, was cited as a particular concern by the European Union's Crop Monitoring Service, MARS, which in December raised a drought alert in the Mediterranean region . The Italian island is a producer of citrus fruits and olives, as well as wheat. Water shortages are nothing new to Sicilians, many of whom have cisterns on their roofs to collect rainwater, but the storage system has proven insufficient in the face of long periods of drought in recent years. Some residents now fill their tubs when water is available for washing and cooking, said restaurant owner Federico Castronovo. Southern Italy, Greece, the Mediterranean islands and northern Africa now fear that rising spring temperatures will exacerbate problems for agriculture, ecosystems and the availability of drinking water.

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