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Italy sets a new record for massive amount of drinking water wasted

The waste of freshwater is due to old pipes filled with cracks.

Italy's leaking pipes, drinking water wasted

Photo Credit: iStock

Leaky pipes in Italy have led to enough wasted water each year to meet the needs of 43 million people, Euronews reports, with most of the country's issues boiling down to old infrastructure. 

What happened?

Water waste in Italy — which isn't exactly a new issue — is largely due to old pipes filled with cracks that leak water, even when not in use. 

Pipes need regular replacement in the grid to make sure there are no breakages, leaks, or buildups that can cause damage to the lines. Unfortunately, in Italy, replacements are less common than they should be. A quarter of pipes in Italy's infrastructure are over 50 years old, and around 60% are over 30 years old, according to Euronews.

The Italian government has pushed citizens to reduce their water usage in their homes, but it hasn't done much to solve the growing infrastructure problem.

Why are Italy's leaky pipes a problem?

In 2022 alone, around 42% of Italy's drinking water was lost due to these infrastructure issues, which Euronews cites as a new record. 

With Italy already facing a drought this year, the water waste could lead to increased water costs and even stricter water usage guidelines. 

What is being done about the water waste?

Italy has taken a few steps to mitigate the issue. 

The government has restricted water usage in some regions hit particularly hard by drought and plans to spend roughly 4 billion euros (about $4.37 billion as of early July) to build a water distribution system spanning more than 15,500 miles, Euronews reported.

Some companies and cities are also working to address the issue by installing smart meters that show where the waste is worst. 

Presumably, they will use this information to prioritize the most problematic pipes. They plan to solve up to 13% of total water losses on the grid before 2026, according to Euronews.

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