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Natural Environment

The Po basin can be subdivided in two distinct regions: Upper Po (75% area) characterized with by a number of fast responding mountainous tributaries from the Alps (Ravazzani et al, 2015) and Po Valley (25 % area) with flat and wide plains (Artina et al., 1990). The tributaries display different characteristics depending upon their Alpine or Apennine origin. The tributary of Alpine origin is fed by snowfields. The courses trace over the low plains. The plain comprises sub-basins: Cuneo plain, Lombardo-Veneto plain, Alessandria plain, Emilia-Romagna plain and the Po delta. The sub-basins show close correspondence to buried ridges which give them the character of authentic hydrogeological basins, relying on sediments of limited permeability (PRBA, 2007). 

The basin is prone to landslides and erosive phenomena depending on the local lithological and structural conditions. In the south, mostly characterized by calcareous mountains, landslides frequently occur (PRBA, 2007). The Apennine side consists mostly of flaky clays. The plain areas display subsidence which affects inhabited regions and the watercourses. It is caused by the overexploitation of the aquifers and the extraction of gaseous hydrocarbons.     


References and further reading:

Artina et al. (1990) Water resources planning of the River Po basin: a surface and groundwater hydrology study, in: The Hydrological Basis for Water Resources Management 197: 427-437.

Mysiak et al. (2013) Economic impacts of drought on agriculture, in Research Papers, Centro Euro-Mediterraneo sui Cambiamenti Climatici.

Montanari (2012) Hydrology of the Po River: looking for changing patterns in river discharge, in Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 16: 3739-3747.

Ravazzani et al. (2015) An integrated Hydrological Model for Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Water Resources of the Upper Po River Basin, in Water Resources Management 29: 1193-1215.

Turco et al. (2013) Variation in discharge, precipitation and temperature in Po River and tributaries basins, Impacts on Soil and Coasts Division.

PRBA (Po River Basin Authority) (2007) Introduction of Po River Basin Authority.

Po River Basin Authority (2013) Vulnerability to drought of  the Po River Basin: Issues and Challenges, 

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