Vatican turns off fountains amid drought in Rome

The office governing Vatican City State announced July 25 that the drought has "led the Holy See to take measures aimed at saving water" by shutting down fountains in St. Peter's Square, throughout the Vatican Gardens and in the territory of the state.

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

. Some of the city's public drinking fountains were switched off in late June.

The decision reflects the pro-environment teachings of Pope Francis' Laudato Sii encyclical on climate change, the official Vatican broadcaster said.

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While the decision is likely to upset summer tourists who look forward to viewing the Vatican's famed fountains, water conservation is being widely encouraged as Rome's authorities consider the introduction of strict water rations.

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.

In Italy the lack of rain has caused a serious drought across the country. 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.

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Rome's ancient water systems have served drinking and ornamental fountains for thousands of years.

CBS News reported on Tuesday that this spring was Italy's third-driest in 60 years, and the drought has cost Italy's agricultural industry some $2.3 billion so far.

Rome is gasping after 72 per cent less rain than normal fell in July, according to Sky Italia's weather TV channel.

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