Drought in Sicily, the Region declares a state of water crisis for the drinking sector in six provinces. Santoro appointed Commissioner


By John

The regional council, upon proposal of the president of the Region Renato Schifani, approved the state of crisis and emergency in the drinking water sector until December 31st pfor the provinces of Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Enna, Messina, Palermo and Trapani. At the same time, it appointed the general secretary of the Basin Authority of the Sicily hydrographic district, Leonardo SantoroDelegate Commissioner with the task of identifying and implementing all the necessary measures to overcome the most critical phase.

The provision, provided for by regional law number 13 of 2020, is part of the context of persistent drought conditions which has reduced the availability of water in the Sicilian reservoirs. In fact, 2023 was the fourth consecutive year with rainfall below the long-term historical average and even the first months of this year, characterized by higher temperatures and lack of rainfall, have confirmed this trend so far. It is no coincidence that last February the regional government declared a state of water crisis for both the irrigation and livestock sectors.

The new commissioner will, among other things, have to carry out a series of urgent initiatives. In particular:

– actions aimed at saving drinking water, such as the reduction of withdrawals and the development of consumption reduction programs, with reference to the promotion of the efficiency of external uses, the verification of uses with the implementation of saving strategies, the implementation of technological practices and modernization programs aimed at reducing consumption of user equipment and water saving awareness campaigns;

– actions aimed at increasing available resources, such as coordination with the national extraordinary commissioner for the adoption of urgent interventions related to the phenomenon of water scarcity (law 68/2023); the recognition and planning of urgent interventions to find alternative resources; the identification of solutions for finding new water resources for drinking use; the reconnaissance and actions for the use of wells and springs, as well as the use of dead volumes in the reservoirs and the interconnection of reservoirs;

– actions derogating from regional regulations aimed at increasing available drinking water resources, such as the recognition of current supply limitations and the proposal of ordinances derogating from regional regulations.