Publication: Drought management and early warning in the Po River basin
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Web: ... ISSN:
Year: 2014 ISBN:
Language: Inglés External Link: ...
Type: Abstract
 
Summary:
The Po River is the major Italian river. Its basin covers almost the whole North o f Italy with an area of about 70.000 Km2, lying for small portions in France and Switzerland, so that is classified as international district according to EU Water Framework Directive. 42% of area consists of floodplain, where most of economic activities are carried out, and live 17 million people. Po river basin's water uses rely on a good annual water availability, even if signed by a very high seasonal variability. Po discharge can range from floods flow, reaching 10.000 m3/s to summer flows, being about 300 m3/s. Water in the Po basin is intensively exploited during the summer period by irrigation, claiming about 19·109 m3 between April to September, ( 75% of the overall withdrawal). This seasonal variability is responsible of the occurring of severe drought events during summer, when agricultural needs are greatest. Thus coping with drought in the Po river basin means firstly to implement a good management of irrigation water resource. The 2003 drought put a strain on the system, tightly followed by other events in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2012. At that moment the Po River Basin Authority was indicated by the National Civil Protection Department as the most appropriate venue to address the issue. In 2008, a “Memorandum of Understanding” was formalized for the maintenance of a minimum agreed flow, to serve essential human uses keeping the environment. Within the MoU, a permanent technical board has been established as the decision making body for water management during drought or water scarcity episodes. The board involves: regulatory public administrations and civil protection, agricultural operators, hydro-power producers, regulated alpine lakes managers, irrigation consortia, water civil supply services, industry and other facing category representatives, environmental associations, all together with. The MoU sanctioned also the launch of a number of initiatives aimed at sharing data and knowledge among all stakeholders in order to improve crisis management. An important step forward was undertaken with the development of the DEWS-Po “Drought Early Warning System for the Po River”, now operating since 2010, a computer modelling system which comprises in an unique FEWS-based interface, meteorological forecasting and hydrological simulations for discharge/level predictions, including withdrawals system and the possibility of what-if scenarios simulations. Also a scheme for the DMP development has been produced, defining alert levels, and typology and frequency of real-time actions to be taken according to the hydrological and meteorological current condition. The board meets any year at the beginning of the irrigation season: all outputs provided by the DEWS-Po System are examined jointly, and the strategy for the next future is decided by expert judgment. Bulletin is prepared at intervals during drought events. The DMP is currently under development within the Po Water Balance Plan scheme, to be published on Dec 22nd.
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