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WATER

Italian execs convicted over polluted water supply

Ten former executives with Italian chemicals firm Montedison were found guilty Friday on appeal of allowing industrial waste to pollute the water supply of 700,000 people in the central eastern region of Pescara.

Italian execs convicted over polluted water supply
Photo: Munir Uz Zaman/ AFP file picture

Friday's court decision opens the way for a civil case which could lead to payment of some 2.7 million euros ($2.9 million) in damages and interest plus a further million in court costs.

Montedison, now known as Edison, stood accused of burying as much as 250,000 tons of toxic and industrial waste at a facility which opened in the 1960s. Tests showed the waste had leaked into the water supply between 2004 and 2007, when forest rangers and ecologists reported finding traces of contamination.

An initial case saw the executives acquitted in December 2014.

The case harked back, albeit on a smaller scale, to an earlier scandal dubbed “Terra dei Fuochi” (Land of Fires), which saw a Mafia clan illegally and profitably dump millions of tons of toxic waste near the southern city of Naples over almost 20 years.

DROUGHT

Italy drought: No water rationing in Rome

Plans to ration water in Rome amid a prolonged drought have been averted.

Italy drought: No water rationing in Rome
Photo: AFP

The Lazio region had mulled a measure to stagger water supply shutdowns in certain neighbourhoods of the capital for eight hours a day.

The region's rationing threat followed the decision to stop withdrawing water from Lake Bracciano, close to Rome, because it had dropped to such a low level that it risked sparking an environmental disaster.

Acea, the utility firm which runs Rome's water system, had slammed the stop on using water from the lake as “unnecessary” and said last week that the move left it no choice but to cut off supplies to residents.

But after pressure from Mayor Virginia Raggi and Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin, water will flow as normal in the capita – at least until September.

As part of the deal reached on Monday, Acea will be able to keep withdrawing water from the lake, albeit at a low rate, until September, Ansa reported.

The dry spell has deprived Italy of 20 billion cubic metres of water so far this year – the equivalent of Lake Como.

Ten regions across the country have called for a state of emergency to be declared after Italy suffered the second-driest spring in 60 years and rainfall in the first six months of the year was down 33 percent.

After a brief respite, temperatures across Italy are set to creep up again this week, eclipsing 40 degrees Celsius in Sardinia.

Read more: Italy braces for ‘the hottest week of the year'