The buried channel remained where it was. The mouth of the stream that crashes from the mountains of Bitti towards the town has just been shaped after the devastating fury of two years ago. Stones and concrete make a fine show, as a sort of invitation to that underground tunnel that climbs downstream into the bowels of the town, crossing streets and houses, squares and shops. The memory here, in the land of the last disastrous flood that hit Sardinia, was November 27, 2020, is carved into the faces and indelible signs of a wounded country like few others.

You patch up

The patches evident in every corner of the inhabited center are an eloquent photograph of an ever-present past, of a looming anguish. Almost three years after that violent whipping of water, plans and projects are still being discussed, without ever taking into account history, the one that advances without brakes, from the climatic one to the need to radically rethink the hydrogeological structure of the Sardinian Municipalities. In the past, almost everyone had "solved" the issue of the watercourses that crossed the towns with a cement "lid" to be placed along the entire riverbed, in order to build without respite. The past, but above all the future, leave no room for half measures: the hydrogeological parameters are changing radically, with no possibility of wasting any more time.

Black hole

Yet, anyone who looks into the maze of regional bureaucracy, superimposed and double-crossed with the state one, is forced to delude himself that here, in Sardinian land, there is no hurry, that we can still afford to postpone the many bells of alarm that from the Island to the rest of the universe leave no more doubts. Finding funding, the state of the art, planning and tendering, timing and construction sites, is a bit like venturing into one of those many buried canals that wait like hyenas for the moment to strike. There is everything in the vortex of regional and state buildings called to deal with hydrogeological instability, risks and prevention. There is darkness, the one that doesn't let you glimpse procedures and progress. There is chaos, the one that is recorded by crossing acts and resolutions, once by the Government Commissioner for the fight against hydrogeological instability, in Sardinia he is the president of the Region, and another by that of the delegated bodies. There is the black hole of resources that lie in a hidden and unused treasury, stuck at the stake as if the emergency were just a clumsy hypothesis. To reconstruct the overall picture, you have to rely on the few, complicated monitoring tools, declared as updated in real time, but which then take at least six months' delay in certifying the data.

Tracking chaos

Plunging into the black hole of hydrogeological instability in Sardinia means extricating yourself on two state platforms, the only ones that seem to monitor appropriations and progress. One is headed by the economic side of the government, better known as the Open Cohesion Agency, the one that monitors various state funding channels, the other is more on the environmental side, the Rendis platform hinged on Ispra, the ministerial branch of the environment delegated to hydrogeological risk.

Forget about the Palace

In the last ten years, an infinite number of mission units, planning and risk offices have been decapitated, each with a monitoring project, precisely to suggest that chaos reigns supreme in terms of flood emergencies, and above all prevention. Sardinia, the political and bureaucratic one, seems to forget the fragility of its territory.

The forgotten tragedies

Recent history has marked the last twenty years with immense tragedies that have hit the island far and wide like water earthquakes, from the flood of Villagrande Strisaili on 6 December 2004, to that of Capoterra and Assemini of the October 2008, arriving at the most recent ones, from the nefarious misfortune of Olbia and Torpè, 18 November 2013, up to the last one of Bitti, in November 2020. After so much devastation, one could imagine a race against time, to restore roads and services, planning the safety of territories, the strategy for a new balance between the environment and man, between the climate and daily life.

Plantigrades of risk

And instead, nothing. The times are not only biblical, but the gait is that of those who are not in a hurry. The latest resolutions adopted by the Regional Council confess confusion and delays. The deliberative provision that was supposed to plan the activities of the project unit, the one approved on 19 December 2022, even goes so far as to confuse the contrast of hydrogeological instability with the Project Unit for "Interventions for energy efficiency".

Money and a thousand streams

On the financial framework, the sums are varied, starting from the available appropriations. Open Coesione monitors, under the responsibility of the delegate commissioner for the "implementation of hydrogeological risk mitigation interventions in the Sardinia Region", appropriations for 270.5 million euros, with data updated as of 31 December 2022. The Ispra Rendis platform, on the other hand, brings together 419 million euros of sums allocated to counter the hydrogeological instability of the island. The project unit of the Region, on the other hand, with the planning act at the end of 2022 recorded 318 million euros. A nest egg, to tell the truth totally insufficient for the framework of needs, made up of the allocations of the 2010 program agreements, with as many as five additional acts for a total of 170 million euros, from the shares of the social fund of 106 million, from the plan 2021 excerpt for 12.7 million, 13 million from a decree of the Prime Minister for 2021.


The platform that articulates the situation most clearly is the one held by Ispra which takes into consideration the largest amount of appropriations. The picture that emerges is disarming. Out of the 419 million allocated, just 60 have been spent, while a good 181 million euros would still be in the planning stage, while just 9 million euros would be awarded for new works. According to Ispram indicators, the works in the pipeline would involve 86 million euros.

2% of completed construction sites

The map that Open Coesione provides, on the other hand, is without appeal: out of the 270 million allocated and monitored, for a total of 100 works, just 2% of the construction sites are completed, 73% of projects in progress, 26% of projects not started. The construction sites registered as in progress, however, very often, are only mere signs of the start of the works. The reality on the ground is quite different. The picture of the individual works from the most impressive ones, in the places of the most serious tragedies, from Olbia to Bitti, up to the less significant interventions is much more serious, with construction sites that record zero percent activity. A detailed picture that says a lot about delays and negligence for a dossier where haste and efficiency would have been needed. For now, on the risk, only drowsiness.


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