Published: Wed, July 26, 2017
World Media | By Joan Schultz

Pope shuts off Vatican fountains amid drought

Pope shuts off Vatican fountains amid drought

The Vatican has turned off its famous fountains, as Rome struggles in a drought.

Water pours out of the fountain as Pilgrims gather in St Peter's Square to watch a giant screen as Pope Francis presides over the Holy Saturday Easter vigil mass in St. Peter's Basilica on March 30, 2013 in Vatican City, Vatican.

The Vatican has turned off all fountains, including two Baroque masterpieces in St. Peter's Square and interior fountains in the Vatican Gardens, to save water due to a prolonged drought that has been affecting nearly two-thirds of Italy's farmland as well as its capital, Rome.

Meanwhile Coldiretti, the farmers' association, estimates €2 billion worth of damage to agri-cultural land, while dairy farmers have reported drops in milk production. A state of emergency has been declared in northern Italy, and Rome has already switched off its drinking fountains.

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Suffocating summer heat has followed two years of lower-than-average rainfall in Rome, forcing the Italian capital to close drinking fountains and consider the prospect of water rationing.

The drought had affected many other areas of Italy. About 20 cities neighboring the capital city of Rome have begun to suspend water supply for local residents in a certain time every week, impacting 1.5 million Romans, according to local media. Pope Francis has always preached about solidarity, so shutting off the fountains, despite their popularity, is a show of solidarity with the people of Rome.

The reason for shutting a hundred spigots is a drought that has consumed much of Italy, delivering 72 percent less rain than normal in July and 74 percent less in June.

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