versione italiana

Rocca di Garda - XIX centuryIts origins

The Garda desert originates from the dry bed of Lake Garda (or Benàco): the largest Italian lake until the first half of the XXI century.
Lake Garda was an important Italian tourist destination and is cited in a number of literary works by great authors such as Gaio Valerio Catullo, Dante Alighieri and J.W. v. Goethe.

Until the first decade of the year 2000 the native population of Garda and Italy itself Peschiera - Postcard of the XX century ignored the importance and the gravity of the water shortage emergency (the first indication of desertification), the first warnings being recorded around the year 2003.

The causes of this ecological and geological upheaval are still today a subject for discussion, but many climatologists and historians agree in identifying two main causes:

•  the greenhouse effect;
•  the destruction of the natural and water eco-systems of Garda;

It is important to note that these causes were totally ignored until 2010.
In fact, many historians agree that one of the main accomplices of this catastrophe was the ignorance of the local population. All the elements were in fact present to permit Water dischargesthe identification of a series of water shortages as early as the first decade of 2000, but often the lowering of the lake’s water level was accepted because rainfall would have raised the capacity to provide water again. The same chronicles record continuous and futile squabbles between the local administrations for the use of the little water that was left, without ever undertaking any real collective action.

In reality all of this resulted in not focusing on the real reason for the water shortage, in other words the continual extinction of the ice caps (caused by the greenhouse effect) of the Brenta Group mountain range which originally created the Sarca valley and the lake’s main inlets.

The theory which attributes the concomitant cause of the phenomena of desertification to the indifference of the population is confirmed by the following historical sources:

  • Water dissipation above 30% in some aqueducts in the neighbouring municipalities (including those in the area which was then called “lower lake/ higher Mincio river” of Mantova) because of obsolete Building sitesdistribution networks;
  • The data regarding local pollution levels: in fact Verona was one of the 3 most polluted cities in Italy (data item of 2006);
  • A vertiginous increase in real estate speculation (often defined as being “savage” [1] - [2] - [3] - [4]) which led to the rapid extinction of both agricultural land and the greenery surrounding the lake in favour of residential and tourist structures (with a total breakdown in the centuries old water canalization system and the consequent waste and dissipation of the aquifers);
  • A total indifference to alternative (and/or ecological) transport means in favour of automobiles and other wheeled vehicles (the different Lake/Verona areas – areas with high density tourism – lacked evening and night-time transportation connections); this indifference is also evidenced by the continual road-works (motorways, dual carriageways, car parks) and the consequent building industry activity attracted by these road conditions.

The lake had already retracted hundreds of metres by the beginning of 2012, leaving new areas with hectares of beach and land; this was an opportunity that the unscrupulous Italian construction companies did not hesitate to financially exploit. In a short space of time, however, the disadvantages of what was later defined an environmental disaster of national proportions were seen to be superior to the profit levels attained.

The first marked exodus from the lake took place around 2019 when the level of the water fell circa 15 metres. In any case, by then the area between Verona and Brescia had become a single residential centre which joined together the municipalities of Bussolengo, Castelnuovo, Peschiera, Desenzano and Lonato (a total urban extension of 90 Km).Garda Lake without water - La Repubblica 2007

The population which had previously moved to this area from Milan started moving again into areas further north, such as the Trentino province (it is believed that this is the main cause of the second secessionist crisis Procurement contracts for road-worksof the Alto Adige region).

The final extinction of the lake ocurred around 2035 – 2045, and the formation of the first dunes date back to a few years later.

As fate would have it, if Lake Garda was a refuge for the population (of Italian origin) which was abandoning the by now unliveable city of Milan, in a similar way 60 years later the Garda Desert became the home of the largest Afro-Asian-Italian community, created by the new generations which came from northern Italy’s large capital.

The Garda Desert has a maximum length of 52 Km, a width of 17 Km and a maximum depth of 180 metres below sea level.

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credits [ dlsan ]