Vatican turns off fountains as Italy reels from drought

The Vatican says it is shutting off all its fountains including those in St. Peter's Square because of Italy's drought

A report on Vatican Radio said the decision was consistent with Pope Francis' teachings on the environment: The Pope has denounced waste and emphasized the importance of access to clean drinking water.

The Vatican has shut off the water at its fountains, including in St. Peter's Square.

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All fountains within Vatican City have been switched off in a show of solidarity with Italy as the country endures a prolonged drought.

All 100 Vatican City fountains, including two Baroque masterpieces in St Peter's Square, will be shut off in the coming days as a drought sweeps Rome and other parts of Italy.

While the source of water was once provided from an ancient Roman aqueduct, the two fountains, as well as 10 percent of Vatican City State's 100 fountains "recirculate water now", Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, told Catholic News Service in a July 25 email.

"This decision is very much in line with the pope's thinking on ecology", Burke said.

Water supplies are in jeopardy in Rome following an unusually dry summer season, and authorities are considering several emergency measures to address the crisis, including rationing.

The Po valley is one of Italy's most fertile areas. The capital is now facing water rationing after a halt was ordered on pumping water from nearby Lake Bracciano.

This spring has been Italy's third-driest in 60 years, and the lack of rainfall has cost the Italian agriculture sector almost 2.3 billion dollars.

The Lazio region is to put a stop on water being drawn from Lake Bracciano, about 20 miles from Rome, an important supplier of water to the city, because of a risk to aquatic life as it dries up, Lazio said on its website.

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