The largest river in Italy, in the north of the country, is the center of a major project to improve this tranquil oasis and its rich ecosystem. After several years of neglect, ensuring the long-term health of the P0, located in the most industrialized area of Italy, is crucial both for the transalpine economy and for the environment.
“The climate crisis has accentuated the dramatic changes between periods of rain in both summer and winter. This has increased the problems along the river. Therefore, by restoring the flow we create a huge sponge that can retain water during the rainfall and release it progressively during the rest of the year. In this way, it is possible to fix the hydrogeological cycle and reduce the risks related to climate change “, explains Andrea Agapito Ludovici, director of the WWF-Italy water project.
The main objective of the intervention is to improve the flow of the river by connecting the abandoned channels. The main stretch of the river is being covered by the renaturation plan whose main objective is to remove navigation barriers made of sand to allow water to flow where it has not passed for more than 30 years.
Meuccio Berselli, general secretary of the Po Hydrographic Confederation explains how it will be carried out: “We are going to cut down the vegetation and remove parts of what will allow the main river to connect with this area several times a year. In doing so, they will be filled with water specific areas that we have already identified, with the aim of improving biodiversity “
Local communities living and working in the regions crossed by the river will also benefit. From tourism to the provision of boat-related services, Jennifer Bacchi’s business has focused on the Po River: “We expect the number of visitors to double to between 1600 and 2000 a year. For a city as small as Ours means a lot, that we can potentially have a clientele that is around half the population that lives here. This means that our range of offers will also increase. The more people come, the more we will increase our services. We hope to double the income from our deal”.
But the project will take time to complete. It will not be completed before 2026. It is the year that marks the end of the period of allocation of the recovery fund of the European Union.