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Beautiful Italian island in grips of crisis as it’s forced to ration water

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A stunning Italian island, home to beautiful beaches, an active volcano and amazing history, is in the grip of the worst drought it has experienced in nearly 20 years.

More than 850,000 people in Sicily are seeing their water being rationed following a persistent and severe lack of rainfall.

As artificial lakes are dry and farmers are struggling to water their fields, the Italian national commissioner against water scarcity, Nicola Dell’Acqua, voiced his worries last week as the blistering heat normally hitting the island is around the corner.

He said: “I can’t imagine what will happen this summer.”

The local government of the region of Sicily has so far declared a state of emergency lasting until the end of the year in six provinces.

The area affected by the rationing includes the provinces of Agrigento, Caltanissetta, Enna, Messina, Palermo and Trapani – home to some of the island’s most beautiful beaches, including Scala dei Turchi, Scopello and Isola Bella.

In the following months, people living across more than 90 towns and cities in these six provinces will experience water rationing at various degrees – between 10 percent and 45 percent.

Siciliacque, the company administrating much of the water network on the island, said: “The decision, taken in agreement with the regional authorities, follows the severe drought being experienced in Sicily and wants to conciliate people’s need for water with the necessity to safeguard the reservoirs.”

While the drought alert has reached its peak this year, Sicily has been experiencing rainfall below the average for four years in a row between 2019 and 2023.

The second half of 2023 was the driest in more than 100 years, and Italy’s National Irrigation Reclamation Association believes Sicily has experienced eight months of “almost total aridity”.

The higher-than-average temperatures, paired with leaking irrigation facilities have only worsened an already dire situation.

In early February, Sicily President Renato Schifani said: “Sicily is the only region in Italy and among the few in Europe in a red zone due to a shortage of water resources. Morocco and Algeria are in the same situation.”

Sicily isn’t the only holiday hotspot being plagued by an extreme lack of rain, with¬†parts of Spain also being hit by severe drought.

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