Two thirds of Italy hit by drought

10 regions to ask state of calamity, rationing possible in Rome

(ANSA) - Rome, July 24 - The farmland of two-thirds of Italy is hit by drought and the cost to Italian agriculture amounts to two billion euros, according to farmers association Coldiretti.
    It said the long period of intense heat and lack of rain of has badly hit both crops and livestock farmers.
    At least 10 Italian regions are preparing to present requests for a state of natural calamity to be declared to the agriculture ministry because of the drought, ANSA sources said. Water utility ACEA is considering rationing water for around 1.5 million people in Rome after the Lazio region said it will be stopped from taking water from nearby Lake Bracciano, the level of which has fallen significantly due to the recent drought.
    The move could kick in next weekend, with water being cut off for around eight hours, mostly in the night and in the morning.
    A meeting will be held at the environment ministry in Rome on Wednesday or Thursday on ways to avert the possibility of water rationing in the capital due to the drought emergency, sources said Monday. Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti and officials from the Lazio region and ACEA are set to be among those taking part, the sources said.