2022 – A World War II shipwreck surfaces in 1943 after the main river in Italy flows to low levels during a drought

  • Italy’s Po River, the country’s largest, has not rained for more than 110 days.
  • Drought threatens the supply of drinking water, irrigation for agriculture and hydroelectric power plants for power generation in Italy.
  • The water level is so low that the wreck of a World War II barge that sank in 1943 resurfaced.

A historic drought that devastated Italy’s largest river has exposed a World War II-era shipwreck.

The Po River flows 405 miles from the Kuwait Alps to its confluence with the Adriatic Sea. It is currently facing its worst drought in 70 years, bringing back a decades-old shipwreck.

The Associated Press reported that the Zeppelo, a 160-foot-tall barge that transported timber during World War II and sank in 1943, is usually hidden under Poe waters. Now the water level of the river is so low that the wreck is visible to the viewers.

“It’s the first time we’ve seen this barge,” Raffaele Vezzali, an amateur cyclist, told The Associated Press from a park near the village of Gualtieri.

Alessio Bonin photographed the wreckage with his drone. He told The Warden it was an amazing sight.

“In recent years you could see the bow of the boat, so we knew it was there, but seeing the ship exposed like this in March when it was winter is still very exciting,” Bunin said. “I’ve never experienced a drought like this this time of year – our main concern was once our river flooding, and now we’re worried about its demise.”

A number of factors caused by climate change contribute to drought. The Associated Press reports that northern Italy has not rained in more than 110 days, snowfall has fallen 70% this year and above-average temperatures are melting snow and glaciers in the surrounding Alps and Po basin of summer water reservoirs.

Miuccio Berselli, general secretary of the Po River Basin Authority, told the AP that in a riverside village called Burrito, the river’s flow is typically 476,000 gallons per second. Now it’s only 80,000 gallons per second.

Drought threatens drinking water supplies and irrigation for agriculture in Italy’s most heavily farmed region and hydroelectric power stations for power production, the Associated Press reports.

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