Lack of rain leaves Italy gasping

Lack of rain leaves Italy gasping

A blanket of smog covers Milan, empty reservoirs bake in Sicily and wine production is down in Piedmont as a lack of rain across Italy exacerbates pollution and sparks droughts.

Gas-guzzling cars were banned from roads on Tuesday in Milan and eight other cities across Lombardy after the northern Italian industrial region registered high levels of particle pollution that is dangerous for health.

The region, home to many intensive livestock farms, banned the customary spraying of animal waste onto fields, a practice known to cause air pollution.

The lack of rainfall is aggravating an already difficult situation, following heatwaves last year which lowered reservoir levels and drove up water consumption.

The Italian snow water equivalent—the equivalent amount of water stored in the snow pack—is down 64% this month compared to a year earlier, according to the CIMA Research Foundation.

Reservoir levels there are down 23% compared to the average over the last 14 years.