Drought-stricken farmers in Italy get water with Xylem rental pump solution

Drought-stricken farmers in Italy get water with Xylem rental pump solution

Farmers in the province of Cremona, in northern Italy, rely on water from the Po River for their crops and livestock. When a drought in 2022 decreased the flow of the river, the local water utility’s pump station could no longer pump enough water from the river to an irrigation canal. The utility partnered with Xylem to create an emergency pump station in just a few weeks using Flygt rental pumps.

The Po River is Italy’s longest river, starting in the Alps in northern Italy and flowing east over 650 kilometers (400 miles) to the Adriatic Sea. The flow of the river has been decreasing for years, requiring utilities to adopt modern technologies to guarantee water for fields and farms.

The decreasing flow of the Po River has led to major challenges for the water utility in Casalmaggiore, the Consorzio di Bonifica Navarolo Agro Cremonese Mantovano, located in the province of Cremona. The Consortium serves an area covering about 478 square kilometers (185 square miles) and including 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) of canals.

Older pump stations now insufficient

In 1930, the Isola Pescaroli pump station was built to provide water for agriculture in the area, and today it serves 5,000 farmers and other users. By the 1980s, the decreasing flow of the Po River made the plant unable to draw enough water to meet user needs, so a pre-lifting station was built to solve the problem.

“This solution worked really well for decades, but the unpredictable drought of 2022 and the low level of the Po made it impossible to draw the necessary amount of water,” says Marco Ferraresi, General Manager and Technical Director of the Consortium.

With farmers in desperate need of water, constructing a new pump station in just a few weeks was not a realistic solution. Purchasing new pumps to move the large quantity of water required was also not economically viable for the Consortium. The Consortium, however, had to act quickly to prevent the dramatic consequences of a water shortage on agriculture and livestock in the area, which were also facing increasing temperatures.

A modular, pump rental solution from Xylem

To solve the problem, Ferraresi turned to Xylem’s pump rental service. Xylem’s rental hub provides most of the equipment that utilities and communities need to handle water emergencies, including submersible pumps, dewatering pumps, and systems for disinfection and mixing.

“The technicians of the Consortium and Xylem worked closely together to solve the problem,” says Ferraresi. “Our experts estimated the necessary flow rates and dimensions, while Xylem's experts identified the necessary pumps and sized the electrical installations. In a very short time, this collaboration allowed us to start pumping water from the river at a lower level.”

The rental solution includes two pumping units, which can operate autonomously, mounted on external skids. Each unit consisting of three Flygt 3501 pumps, connected to a 1000-mm diameter manifold – a design choice that speeded up installation.

The Flygt pumps have a three-channel impeller, which guarantees a high hydraulic capacity (about one cubic meter per second) and high reliability. With a power output of 125 kW, the pumps are designed to handle extreme conditions and save energy during normal conditions. Operators can also remotely monitor the pumps through a Xylem digital control system, Aquaview ++.

Fast pump deployment with high reliability

The pump rental solution gives the Consortium a flexible solution that enables it to handle long periods of drought. Aside from rapid deployment and an upfront, predictable fee, the rental solution also ensures optimal maintenance and a reduced need to keep components in stock.

“Beyond the performance of the pumps, the partnership with the Xylem rental team has allowed us to quickly deploy this critical infrastructure to meet the needs of our customers,” says Ferraresi.