The Reading / Listening - Italy Drought - Level 6

Large swathes of Europe are experiencing droughts and water shortages. One region is experiencing its worst drought for 70 years. The area, in northern Italy, has had hardly any rainfall in the past four months. This year's snowfall was 70 per cent lower. This has caused the River Po, Italy's largest, to be three metres lower than average. A lot of the riverbed has dried up and people can walk across the mud. In one part, the declining water level has fully exposed a World War II shipwreck. Authorities are concerned that if it doesn't rain soon, there'll be a serious water shortage. This means water will be rationed for drinking. Farmers will also have problems finding water to irrigate their crops.

A spokesperson from Italy's Po Basin Authority said the water shortages are unprecedented. The river gets much of its water from Lake Maggiore in the Italian Alps. The lake is seeing its lowest water level since 1946. Problems are being exacerbated by higher-than-average temperatures and a mini heat wave. A farmer from the tiny rural town of Guastalla, 150 km southeast of Milan, said she is expecting a "disastrous year". She said: "With such high temperatures and with no rain…the situation is catastrophic." She added: "We believe that there will be a drop in wheat productivity by at least 20 per cent due to the lack of rain." The Po Valley will see a 30 to 40% reduction in fruit and vegetable production.

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Italy Drought - Level 4  or  Italy Drought - Level 5

Sources
  • https://www.cbsnews.com/news/po-river-italy-dries-up-exposes-1943-shipwreck-zibello/
  • https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jun/15/italy-drought-po-valley-ration-water
  • https://www.euronews.com/2022/06/17/crops-and-drinking-water-threatened-in-italys-po-valley-amid-worst-drought-in-70-years


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice activities, drag and drop activities, sentence jumbles, which word activities, text reconstructions, spelling, gap fills and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)

Warm-ups

1. DROUGHTS: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about droughts. Change partners often and share your findings.
2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?
       swathes / drought / water shortage / the past four months / mud / riverbeds / crops /
       river / lake / water level / temperatures / heat wave / catastrophic / wheat / fruit
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. RATIONING: Students A strongly believe all countries should start rationing water; Students B strongly believe otherwise. Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. PRECIPITATION: What do you know about these types of precipitation? How much or how often does it affect you? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

What I Know

How It Affects Me

Monsoon rain

 

 

Showers

 

 

Drizzle / Spitting

 

 

Sleet

 

 

Hail

 

 

Snow

 

 

MY e-BOOK
ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

5. DROUGHT: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "drought". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
6. NATURAL DISASTERS: Rank these with your partner. Put the most damaging at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • Droughts
  • Typhoons
  • Blizzards
  • Floods
  • Earthquakes
  • Heat waves
  • Tornadoes
  • Volcanoes

 

Vocabulary

    Paragraph 1

      1. swathes a. Becoming smaller, fewer, or less; decreasing.
      2. drought b. Made something visible by uncovering it.
      3. riverbed c. A wide strip or area of something, usually lane.
      4. declining d. Supply water to land or crops.
      5. exposed e. A prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to a shortage of water.
      6. authorities f. The bottom of the channel a waterway flows along.
      7. irrigate g. The people or organization having political or administrative power and control.

    Paragraph 2

      8. unprecedented h. The action or fact of making something smaller or less in amount, degree, or size.
      9. exacerbated i. Never done or known before.
      10. heat wave j. Made a problem, bad situation, or negative feeling worse.
      11. rural k. Involving or causing sudden great damage or suffering.
      12. catastrophic l. Relating to, or characteristic of the countryside rather than the town.
      13. drop m. A prolonged period of abnormally hot weather.
      14. reduction n. Make or become lower.

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if 1-8 below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. All of Europe is experiencing water shortages.     T / F
  2. All of Italy is experiencing its worst drought in seven decades.     T / F
  3. Lower water levels revealed a sunken World War II shipwreck.     T / F
  4. Farmers have no problems irrigating their crops.     T / F
  5. A huge lake in Switzerland feeds the River Po.     T / F
  6. A mini heat wave is making the water shortage worse.     T / F
  7. A farmer said she is expecting a disastrous year.     T / F
  8. Fruit production in the Po Valley is expected to rise.     T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article.

  1. experiencing
  2. hardly
  3. exposed
  4. rationed
  5. irrigate
  6. unprecedented
  7. exacerbated
  8. rural
  9. catastrophic
  10. lack
  1. shortage
  2. water
  3. made worse
  4. barely
  5. countryside
  6. revealed
  7. undergoing
  8. disastrous
  9. limited
  10. unparallelled

3. PHRASE MATCH: (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

  1. Large swathes of Europe are
  2. hardly any rainfall
  3. fully exposed a
  4. water will be
  5. have problems finding water to
  6. the water shortages are
  7. Problems are being
  8. a mini heat
  9. a drop in wheat
  10. due to the lack
  1. wave
  2. unprecedented
  3. irrigate their crops
  4. of rain
  5. World War II shipwreck
  6. rationed for drinking
  7. productivity
  8. experiencing droughts
  9. exacerbated
  10. in the past four months

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
hardly
exposed
swathes
shortage
drought
declining
irrigate
average

Large (1) _____________________ of Europe are experiencing droughts and water shortages. One region is experiencing its worst (2) _____________________ for 70 years. The area, in northern Italy, has had (3) _____________________ any rainfall in the past four months. This year's snowfall was 70 per cent lower. This has caused the River Po, Italy's largest, to be three metres lower than (4) _____________________. A lot of the riverbed has dried up and people can walk across the mud. In one part, the (5) _____________________ water level has fully (6) _____________________ a World War II shipwreck. Authorities are concerned that if it doesn't rain soon, there'll be a serious water (7) _____________________. This means water will be rationed for drinking. Farmers will also have problems finding water to (8) _____________________ their crops.

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
rural
disastrous
productivity
unprecedented
exacerbated
reduction
seeing
catastrophic

A spokesperson from Italy's Po Basin Authority said the water shortages are (9) _____________________. The river gets much of its water from Lake Maggiore in the Italian Alps. The lake is (10) _____________________ its lowest water level since 1946. Problems are being (11) _____________________ by higher-than-average temperatures and a mini heat wave. A farmer from the tiny (12) _____________________ town of Guastalla, 150 km southeast of Milan, said she is expecting a "(13) _____________________ year". She said: "With such high temperatures and with no rain...the situation is (14) _____________________." She added: "We believe that there will be a drop in wheat (15) _____________________ by at least 20 per cent due to the lack of rain." The Po Valley will see a 30 to 40% (16) _____________________ in fruit and vegetable production.

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1)  Large swathes of Europe are experiencing droughts ______
     a.  and watery shortages
     b.  and water shortages
     c.  and watered shortages
     d.  and waters shortages
2)  A lot of the riverbed has dried up and people can walk ______
     a.  across the mad
     b.  across the muddy
     c.  across the mudded
     d.  across the mud
3)  the declining water level has fully exposed a ______
     a.  World War II shipped wreck
     b.  World War II shipwreck
     c.  World War II ships wreck
     d.  World War II ship wreak
4)  This means water will be ______
     a.  rationed for drinking
     b.  lesion for drinking
     c.  lashing for drinking
     d.  rash shunned for drinking
5)  Farmers will also have problems finding water to ______
     a.  irritate their crops
     b.  a rig gate their crops
     c.  regulate their crops
     d.  irrigate their crops

6)  Italy's Po Basin Authority said the water ______
     a.  short ages are unprecedented
     b.  shore stages are unprecedented
     c.  shortages are unprecedented
     d.  shortage is are unprecedented
7)  its lowest water level since 1946. Problems ______
     a.  are being exactly bated
     b.  are being excess bated
     c.  are been excoriated
     d.  are being exacerbated
8)  by higher-than-average temperatures and a ______
     a.  mini heat wave
     b.  midi heat wave
     c.  Mimi heat wave
     d.  Miami heat wave
9)  With such high temperatures and with no rain the ______
     a.  situation is cat a strop flick
     b.  situation is cats' apostrophe
     c.  situation is catastrophe
     d.  situation is catastrophic
10)  there will be a drop in wheat productivity by at least 20 per cent due to the ______
     a.  lack off rain
     b.  lick of rain
     c.  lack of rain
     d.  lick off rain

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

(1) ____________________ Europe are experiencing droughts and water shortages. One region is experiencing (2) ____________________ for 70 years. The area, in northern Italy, has had (3) ____________________ in the past four months. This year's snowfall was 70 per cent lower. This has caused the River Po, Italy's largest, to be three metres lower than average. A lot of (4) ____________________ dried up and people can walk across the mud. In one part, the declining water level has (5) ____________________ World War II shipwreck. Authorities are concerned that if it doesn't rain soon, there'll be a (6) ____________________. This means water will be rationed for drinking. Farmers will also have problems finding water to irrigate their crops.

A spokesperson from Italy's Po Basin Authority said the (7) ____________________ unprecedented. The river gets much of its water from Lake Maggiore in the Italian Alps. The lake is (8) ____________________ water level since 1946. Problems are being exacerbated by higher-than-average temperatures and a mini heat wave. A farmer from the (9) ____________________ of Guastalla, 150 km southeast of Milan, said (10) ____________________ a "disastrous year". She said: "With such high temperatures and with no rain...the (11) ____________________." She added: "We believe that there will be a drop in wheat productivity by at least 20 per cent due to the (12) ____________________." The Po Valley will see a 30 to 40% reduction in fruit and vegetable production.

Comprehension questions

  1. What does the article say is experiencing droughts and water shortages?
  2. How much lower was this year's snowfall?
  3. What did lower water levels reveal in the River Po?
  4. What might be rationed?
  5. What might farmers not be able to do?
  6. When was the last time the water level in Lake Maggiore was so low?
  7. How far is the town of Guastalla from Milan?
  8. What kind of year is a farmer expecting?
  9. By how much did a farmer say wheat production might drop?
  10. What might be produced at 20 to 40% lower rates?

Multiple choice quiz

1)  What does the article say is experiencing droughts and water shortages?
a) central Italy
b) large swathes of Europe
c) Sicily and Rome
d) the Mediterranean
2) How much lower was this year's snowfall?
a) 80%
b) 50%
c) 60%
d) 70%
3) What did lower water levels reveal in the River Po?
a) a WWII shipwreck
b) an oil tanker
c) gold from a 1946 bank robbery
d) a huge fossil
4) What might be rationed?
a) hose pipes
b) gasoline
c) water
d) food
5) What might farmers not be able to do?
a) plant crops
b) irrigate their crops
c) harvest their crops
d) pick fruit

6) When was the last time the water level in Lake Maggiore was so low?
a) 1964
b) 1936
c) 1946
d) 1963
7) How far is the town of Guastalla from Milan?
a) 160 km
b) 180 km
c) 150 km
d) 120 km
8) What kind of year is a farmer expecting?
a) a disastrous year
b) a bumper year
c) a hot year
d) a profitable year
9) By how much did a farmer say wheat production might drop?
a) 20%
b) 40%
c) 50%
d) 30%

10) What might be produced at 20 to 40% lower rates?
a) wheat
b) fruit and vegetables
c) corn
d) profits

Role play

Role  A – Droughts
You think droughts are the worst natural disasters. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them why their disasters aren't as bad. Also, tell the others which is the least damaging of these (and why): blizzards, earthquakes or volcanoes.

Role  B – Blizzards
You think blizzards are the worst natural disasters. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them why their disasters aren't as bad. Also, tell the others which is the least damaging of these (and why): droughts, earthquakes or volcanoes.

Role  C – Earthquakes
You think earthquakes are the worst natural disasters. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them why their disasters aren't as bad. Also, tell the others which is the least damaging of these (and why): blizzards, droughts or volcanoes.

Role  D – Volcanoes
You think volcanoes are the worst natural disasters. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them why their disasters aren't as bad. Also, tell the others which is the least damaging of these (and why): blizzards, earthquakes or droughts.

After reading / listening

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionary / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words...

'river'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'drought'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • Share your findings with your partners.

    • Make questions using the words you found.

    • Ask your partner / group your questions.

    2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

    •Share your questions with other classmates / groups. •Ask your partner / group your questions.

    3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

    4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

    5. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall how they were used in the text:

    • swathes
    • past
    • lot
    • mud
    • soon
    • crops
    • much
    • 1946
    • mini
    • 150
    • drop
    • fruit

    Student survey

    Write five GOOD questions about this topic in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper. When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

    (Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

    Discussion - Italy Drought

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    1. What did you think when you read the headline?
    2. What images are in your mind when you hear the word 'Italy'?
    3. What do you think of hot weather?
    4. Have you ever experienced water shortages?
    5. What's the best way to deal with a drought?
    6. What strange weather have you experienced?
    7. What is causing these extreme weather events?
    8. What would you do if water was rationed?
    9. How difficult is it to be a farmer?
    10. How can we help farmers to irrigate their crops?

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'river'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. How would you feel if rivers near you dried up?
    5. What's the best way to deal with a heat wave?
    6. Have weather events changed the prices of things?
    7. What will the weather be like in 50 years from now?
    8. What will you do if food prices rise a lot?
    9. What three words best describe this story?
    10. What questions would you like to ask the farmers?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

    STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

    STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________

    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    Large (1) ____ of Europe are experiencing droughts and water shortages. One (2) ____ is experiencing its worst drought for 70 years. The area, in northern Italy, has had (3) ____ any rainfall in the past four months. This year's snowfall was 70 per cent lower. This has caused the River Po, Italy's largest, to be three metres lower than average. A lot of the riverbed has dried up and people can walk across the mud. In one part, the (4) ____ water level has fully exposed a World War II shipwreck. Authorities are (5) ____ that if it doesn't rain soon, there'll be a serious water shortage. This means water will be rationed for drinking. Farmers will also have problems finding water to (6) ____ their crops.

    A spokesperson from Italy's Po Basin Authority said the water shortages are (7) ____. The river gets much of its water from Lake Maggiore in the Italian Alps. The lake is (8) ____ its lowest water level since 1946. Problems are being exacerbated by higher-than-average temperatures and a mini heat wave. A farmer from the (9) ____ rural town of Guastalla, 150 km southeast of Milan, said she is (10) ____ a "disastrous year". She said: "With such high temperatures and with no rain...the situation is catastrophic." She added: "We believe that there will be a drop (11) ____ wheat productivity by at least 20 per cent due to the lack of rain." The Po Valley will see a 30 to 40% reduction (12) ____ fruit and vegetable production.

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     swashes     (b)     swats     (c)     swathes     (d)     swatches    
    2. (a)     region     (b)     legion     (c)     lesion     (d)     liaison    
    3. (a)     hardly     (b)     harden     (c)     hardy     (d)     hardiness    
    4. (a)     inclining     (b)     declining     (c)     climbing     (d)     reclining    
    5. (a)     concertinaed     (b)     coerced     (c)     cornered     (d)     concerned    
    6. (a)     irritate     (b)     irrigate     (c)     infuriate     (d)     inculcate    
    7. (a)     unprecedented     (b)     represented     (c)     pretended     (d)     presented    
    8. (a)     watering     (b)     showering     (c)     seeing     (d)     hosing    
    9. (a)     tainted     (b)     tinted     (c)     tinny     (d)     tiny    
    10. (a)     expecting     (b)     expectant     (c)     expiring     (d)     exporting    
    11. (a)     on     (b)     in     (c)     at     (d)     as    
    12. (a)     at     (b)     on     (c)     as     (d)     in

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. Large twaeshs of Europe
    2. experiencing its worst tughodr for 70 years
    3. exposed a World War II krpsheiwc
    4. there'll be a serious water grhaoest
    5. water will be eindrtoa for drinking
    6. finding water to etrarigi their crops

    Paragraph 2

    1. Problems are being tebdxacerae
    2. A farmer from the tiny arurl town
    3. she is expecting a odtisssaur year
    4. the situation is acpothrtisac
    5. a drop in wheat iytvudtpoirc
    6. a 30 to 40% idecrtoun

    Put the text back together

    (...)  any rainfall in the past four months. This year's snowfall was 70 per cent lower. This has
    (...)  experiencing its worst drought for 70 years. The area, in northern Italy, has had hardly
    (...)  rain." The Po Valley will see a 30 to 40% reduction in fruit and vegetable production.
    1  ) Large swathes of Europe are experiencing droughts and water shortages. One region is
    (...)  of its water from Lake Maggiore in the Italian Alps. The lake is seeing its lowest water level since 1946. Problems are being
    (...)  temperatures and with no rain...the situation is catastrophic."  She added: "We believe that
    (...)  concerned that if it doesn't rain soon, there'll be a serious water shortage. This means water
    (...)  caused the River Po, Italy's largest, to be three metres lower than average. A lot of the riverbed has dried
    (...)  southeast of Milan, said she is expecting a "disastrous year". She said: "With such high
    (...)  exacerbated by higher-than-average temperatures and a mini heat wave. A farmer from the tiny rural town of Guastalla, 150 km
    (...)  A spokesperson from Italy's Po Basin Authority said the water shortages are unprecedented. The river gets much
    (...)  there will be a drop in wheat productivity by at least 20 per cent due to the lack of
    (...)  up and people can walk across the mud. In one part, the declining water level has fully exposed a World War II shipwreck. Authorities are
    (...)  will be rationed for drinking. Farmers will also have problems finding water to irrigate their crops.

    Put the words in the right order

    1. swathes  experiencing  catastrophic  droughts  .  Europe  are  of   Large
    2. lot   dried   has   of   riverbed   the   up   .   A
    3. water   Declining   fully   exposed   have   levels   a   shipwreck   .
    4. will   drinking   .   means   water   be   This   rationed   for
    5. problems   water   crops   .   Have   finding   to   irrigate   their
    6. water   said   the   spokesperson   shortages   are   unprecedented  .   A
    7. lake   The   lowest   seeing   water   its   is   levels   .
    8. the   from   Guastalla   .   tiny   rural   of   Farmers   town
    9. high   such   is   With   temperatures,   situation   catastrophic   .   the
    10. productivity   .   a   there'll   be   believe   in   drop   We

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    Large swats / swathes of Europe are experiencing droughts and water shortages. One region / regional is experiencing its worst drought for 70 years. The area, in northern Italy, has had hardly / hardened any rainfall in the past four months. This year's snowfall was 70 per cent lower. This has caused the River Po, Italy's largest, to be three metres lower that / than average. A lot / loads of the riverbed has dried up and people can walk across the mud / muddy. In one part, the declining water level has fully / full exposed a World War II shipwreck. Authorities are cornered / concerned that if it doesn't rain soon, there'll be a serious watery / water shortage. This means water will be rationed for drinking. Farmers will also have problems finding water to irritate / irrigate their crops.

    A spokesperson from Italy's Po Basin Authority said the water shortages are unprecedented / unrepresented. The river gets much of its water from Lake Maggiore in / on the Italian Alps. The lake is seen / seeing its lowest water level since 1946. Problems are being reverberated / exacerbated by higher-than-average temperatures and a mini heat weave / wave. A farmer from the tiny rural / mural town of Guastalla, 150 km southeast of Milan, said she is expecting a "disastrous year". She said: "With such high temperatures and with no rain...the situation is catastrophic / catastrophe."  She added: "We believe that there will be a droop / drop in wheat productivity by at least 20 per cent due to the lack / slack of rain." The Po Valley will see a 30 to 40% reduction in fruit / fruity and vegetable production.

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

    L_rg_  sw_th_s  _f  __r_p_  _r_  _xp_r__nc_ng  dr__ghts  _nd  w_t_r  sh_rt_g_s.  _n_  r_g__n  _s  _xp_r__nc_ng  _ts  w_rst  dr__ght  f_r  70  y__rs.  Th_  _r__,  _n  n_rth_rn  _t_ly,  h_s  h_d  h_rdly  _ny  r__nf_ll  _n  th_  p_st  f__r  m_nths.  Th_s  y__r's  sn_wf_ll  w_s  70  p_r  c_nt  l_w_r.  Th_s  h_s  c__s_d  th_  R_v_r  P_,  _t_ly's  l_rg_st,  t_  b_  thr__  m_tr_s  l_w_r  th_n  _v_r_g_.  _  l_t  _f  th_  r_v_rb_d  h_s  dr__d  _p  _nd  p__pl_  c_n  w_lk  _cr_ss  th_  m_d.  _n  _n_  p_rt,  th_  d_cl_n_ng  w_t_r  l_v_l  h_s  f_lly  _xp_s_d  _  W_rld  W_r  __  sh_pwr_ck.  __th_r_t__s  _r_  c_nc_rn_d  th_t  _f  _t  d__sn't  r__n  s__n,  th_r_'ll  b_  _  s_r___s  w_t_r  sh_rt_g_.  Th_s  m__ns  w_t_r  w_ll  b_  r_t__n_d  f_r  dr_nk_ng.  F_rm_rs  w_ll  _ls_  h_v_  pr_bl_ms  f_nd_ng  w_t_r  t_  _rr_g_t_  th__r  cr_ps. 

    _  sp_k_sp_rs_n  fr_m  _t_ly's  P_  B_s_n  __th_r_ty  s__d  th_  w_t_r  sh_rt_g_s  _r_  _npr_c_d_nt_d.  Th_  r_v_r  g_ts  m_ch  _f  _ts  w_t_r  fr_m  L_k_  M_gg__r_  _n  th_  _t_l__n  _lps.  Th_  l_k_  _s  s___ng  _ts  l_w_st  w_t_r  l_v_l  s_nc_  1946.  Pr_bl_ms  _r_  b__ng  _x_c_rb_t_d  by  h_gh_r-th_n-_v_r_g_  t_mp_r_t_r_s  _nd  _  m_n_  h__t  w_v_.  _  f_rm_r  fr_m  th_  t_ny  r_r_l  t_wn  _f  G__st_ll_,  150  km  s__th__st  _f  M_l_n,  s__d  sh_  _s  _xp_ct_ng  _  "d_s_str__s  y__r".  Sh_  s__d:  "W_th  s_ch  h_gh  t_mp_r_t_r_s  _nd  w_th  n_  r__n...th_  s_t__t__n  _s  c_t_str_ph_c."    Sh_  _dd_d:  "W_  b_l__v_  th_t  th_r_  w_ll  b_  _  dr_p  _n  wh__t  pr_d_ct_v_ty  by  _t  l__st  20  p_r  c_nt  d__  t_  th_  l_ck  _f  r__n."  Th_  P_  V_ll_y  w_ll  s__  _  30  t_  40%  r_d_ct__n  _n  fr__t  _nd  v_g_t_bl_  pr_d_ct__n.

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

    large swathes of europe are experiencing droughts and water shortages one region is experiencing its worst drought for 70 years the area in northern italy has had hardly any rainfall in the past four months this years snowfall was 70 per cent lower this has caused the river po italys largest to be three metres lower than average a lot of the riverbed has dried up and people can walk across the mud in one part the declining water level has fully exposed a world war ii shipwreck authorities are concerned that if it doesnt rain soon therell be a serious water shortage this means water will be rationed for drinking farmers will also have problems finding water to irrigate their crops

    a spokesperson from italys po basin authority said the water shortages are unprecedented the river gets much of its water from lake maggiore in the italian alps the lake is seeing its lowest water level since 1946 problems are being exacerbated by higherthanaverage temperatures and a mini heat wave a farmer from the tiny rural town of guastalla 150 km southeast of milan said she is expecting a disastrous year she said with such high temperatures and with no rainthe situation is catastrophic  she added we believe that there will be a drop in wheat productivity by at least 20 per cent due to the lack of rain the po valley will see a 30 to 40 reduction in fruit and vegetable production

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    LargeswathesofEuropeareexperiencingdroughtsandwatershortage
    s.Oneregionisexperiencingitsworstdroughtfor70years.Thearea,inn
    orthernItaly,hashadhardlyanyrainfallinthepastfourmonths.Thisyea
    r'ssnowfallwas70percentlower.ThishascausedtheRiverPo,Italy'slar
    gest,tobethreemetreslowerthanaverage.Alotoftheriverbedhasdried
    upandpeoplecanwalkacrossthemud.Inonepart,thedecliningwaterle
    velhasfullyexposedaWorldWarIIshipwreck.Authoritiesareconcerne
    dthatifitdoesn'trainsoon,there'llbeaseriouswatershortage.Thismea
    nswaterwillberationedfordrinking.Farmerswillalsohaveproblemsfin
    dingwatertoirrigatetheircrops.AspokespersonfromItaly'sPoBasinAu
    thoritysaidthewatershortagesareunprecedented.Therivergetsmuch
    ofitswaterfromLakeMaggioreintheItalianAlps.Thelakeisseeingitslow
    estwaterlevelsince1946.Problemsarebeingexacerbatedbyhigher-t
    han-averagetemperaturesandaminiheatwave.Afarmerfromthetinyr
    uraltownofGuastalla,150kmsoutheastofMilan,saidsheisexpectinga"
    disastrousyear".Shesaid:"Withsuchhightemperaturesandwithnorai
    n...thesituationiscatastrophic."Sheadded:"Webelievethattherewillb
    eadropinwheatproductivitybyatleast20percentduetothelackofrain."
    ThePoValleywillseea30to40%reductioninfruitandvegetableproducti
    on.

    Free writing

    Write about Italy's drought for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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    Academic writing

    Everyone in the world should reduce the amount of water they use. Discuss.

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    Homework

    1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google's search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
    2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find out more about this news story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
    3. DROUGHTS: Make a poster about droughts. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
    4. LESS WATER: Write a magazine article about all of us using less water. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against this.
    Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).
    5. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on droughts. Ask him/her three questions about them. Give him/her three of your ideas on how to address water shortages. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    A Few Additional Activities for Students

    Ask your students what they have read, seen or heard about this news in their own language. Students are likely to / may have have encountered this news in their L1 and therefore bring a background knowledge to the classroom.

    Get students to role play different characters from this news story.

    Ask students to keep track of this news and revisit it to discuss in your next class.

    Ask students to male predictions of how this news might develop in the next few days or weeks, and then revisit and discuss in a future class.

    Ask students to write a follow-up story to this news.

    Students role play a journalist and someone who witnessed or was a part of this news. Perhaps they could make a video of the interview.

    Ask students to keep a news journal in English and add this story to their thoughts.

    Also...

    Buy my 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers eBook. It has hundreds of ideas, activity templates, reproducible activities for:

    • News
    • Warm ups
    • Pre-reading / Post-reading
    • Using headlines
    • Working with words
    • While-reading / While-listening
    • Moving from text to speech
    • Post-reading / Post-listening
    • Discussions
    • Using opinions
    • Plans
    • Language
    • Using lists
    • Using quotes
    • Task-based activities
    • Role plays
    • Using the central characters in the article
    • Using themes from the news
    • Homework

    Buy my book

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    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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