PO RIVER BASIN (ITALY)
Water Users/ Stakeholders
The Po valley has an extensive agricultural development which is well supported by the water availability (Artina, 1990). Since agriculture is the main land use, artificial channels over the basin (about 7,700 km) were built to support the irrigation infrastructure (Ravazzani, 2015). The irrigated area covers approximately 3,400,000 ha (PRBA, 2007) and therefore, the largest amount of fresh water withdrawal is served for irrigation (17 km3) while the water amount used for industrial and civil purposes is relatively low: 5 km3.
Water quality in the basin is exposed to a high level of anthropogenic pressure. 15% can be attributed to civil waste, 52% to industrial waste and 33% to waste produced by agricultural and animal production (PRBA, 2007). The consequence is a large reduction of water supply for irrigation purposes that may cause an important decrease of crop yield. Since the river basin is facing serious environmental problems, the Po River Basin Authority was established in 1990 aiming at the conservation of land, water and subsoil. Furthermore, the authority tackles environmental issues such as hydrogeological risk mitigation and reduction, sustainable water use and water resources protection. The main responsibility of the Authority is the drafting and implementing of the Basin Plan, covering soil defense, hydrogeological and hydraulic reorganization, water and land utilization. So, planning actions at basin level are focus of the Authority´s work. The Basin Plan implements policies and measures for local and regional administrative bodies.
A further regulative body is the Council of Po river Provinces involving Cuneo, Torino, Vercelli, Alessandria, Pavia, Lodi, Piacenza, Cremona, Mantova, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Ferrara and Rovigo. This body was established to coordinate the territorial policies of the various provinces of the Po area and to manage its resources.
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, www.abdpo.it