Drought -- National Drought Mitigation Center


Date of this Version

October 1995


Published in Drought Network News October 1995. Published by the International Drought Information Center and the National Drought Mitigation Center, School of Natural Resources, University of Nebraska – Lincoln.


Following the severe drought event that occurred in Italy in 1988–90, the Italian Department of Civil Protection published a report, Drought in Italy 1988–90 (in Italian; edited by G. Rossi and G. Margaritora), containing a comprehensive description of the drought event, its impacts, and the mitigation measures adopted in the most affected regions.

Since the beginning of the drought, the Department promoted and coordinated a number of initiatives, aiming mainly to mitigate domestic and agricultural water shortages. The Department also formed a drought committee, which included representatives of various government agencies (in charge of hydrometeorological data collection and water supply system management), with the aim of acquiring timely information on the evolution of the drought in different parts of the country and suggesting adequate actions. The book presents the results of the activities coordinated by the Committee—namely, the description of the meteorological and hydrological characteristics of the 1988–90 drought, the main impacts of the drought on municipal and irrigation systems, and the assessment of measures implemented at the national and local levels. The following summary of the book provides a picture of the most severe drought experienced in Italy in the last fifty years and some information on recent initiatives and laws at the national level to reduce the risk of water shortage during future drought events.

A study of the meteorological trends in the 1988–90 period, prepared by the Italian Air Force Meteorological Service, shows that the position of the 500 hPa isobaric surface over the Mediterranean basin during the drought period was significantly higher than the reference average values. The presence of persistent anticyclones during the entire decade (1980–90) became especially critical between September 1988 and March 1989 and between September 1989 and March 1990, leading to precipitation lower than long-term average values for all of Italy.

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