The Piedmont and Lombardy regions have already taken the field. Several hypotheses are on the table, from the reuse of waste water to desalinators
A little rain in August is not enough to dismiss the problem of drought and the water crisis that has caused very serious damage, especially to agriculture. And it cannot cancel the question from the agenda of the measures to be put in place today to avoid the problems of tomorrow, knowing that climate change does not last the space of a summer. Sustainability, environment and innovation must go hand in hand to find the best solution and fortunately the first signs are coming in this direction. The opportunity to take stock will be the Water festival in Turin from 21 to 23 September promoted by Utilitalia, the federation of Italian utilities.
In the meantime, something is moving in two large regions of the North, Piedmont and Lombardy, which have had particularly significant damage to their agricultural activities. The Piedmont Region has approved what it has called a ‘Marshall Plan’ for water with a really important financial endowment, just under 500 million euros partly financed by the NRP, for a series of structural measures ranging from the reduction of water losses to interconnections, from the increase of storage capacity to the diversification of supply sources.
The waste water to irrigate the North Park of Milan
In Lombardy, the regional council approved the new regional water protection plan (2023-2028): the action will focus on combating water scarcity and will incorporate national and European guidelines on sustainable development, adaptation to climate change and biodiversity. Meanwhile, in Milan, the Parco Nord, one of the green lungs of the city, has been irrigated this summer with appropriately purified domestic wastewater, one of the measures taken in full drought emergency.
Italy today reuses only 4% of its wastewater directly, but all the experts agree that it is an activity from which we can derive much greater benefits. In Milan, for example, there are 41 purification plants: half put the purified water into rivers and streams, 17 instead guarantee water resources to farms, while in 4 cases there is a direct use such as street washing or watering of the city green.
In a hearing in the Chamber, this summer also the Arera, the Authority for Energy and the Environment, underlined the opportunity to exploit “the potential for reuse of water resources, for example through the recourse to the reuse of waste water, also by promoting the activation of measures and projects with the aim of expanding the purification and recovery capacity of waste water “. Ѐ a measure on which the European Union has also intervened with the approval of a regulation that will come into force next year and which aims precisely to give a clear framework for this type of activity and on which the Italian authorities are working, albeit with some delay.
The role of Fisia, national leader in water treatment
Our country has the technological capabilities and the resources to make a qualitative leap in water management and in the fight against drought. Among the companies operating in the water treatment sector, the Italian leader is Fisia Italimpianti (Webuild Group) which has installed wastewater treatment plants that serve 6.6 million people from Turkey to Argentina, naturally also passing through Italy.
For a structural solution to the problem of the water crisis in Italy, the Webuild group – which among other things has just returned to number one in the world in the water segment, at the top of the ranking of the largest international contractors drawn up by ENR, the most authoritative US magazine in the sector – has also proposed a decisive acceleration in the construction of desalination plants . The project, called “Water for life“, Provides for the construction of 15/16 plants throughout Italy that would solve the problem in a structural way.
Fisia has an internationally recognized know-how in this sector, with plants in Arabia, Oman and Dubai that produce over 4 million cubic meters of drinking water every day.