St Peter's Square fountains shut off due to drought

The Vatican said it is shutting off all its fountains, including those in St. Peter's Square, because of Italy's drought. Picture by AP
Suzanne McGonagle and PA

THE Vatican has turned off all its fountains, including those in St Peter's Square, due to a prolonged drought in Italy.

Vatican Radio said all of Vatican City's fountains will go dry, including those in its gardens, to help save water.

Suffocating summer heat combined with two years of lower-than-average rainfall in Rome has forced authorities in the Italian capital to close drinking fountains and consider the prospect of water rationing.

Around 100 fountains are affected by the move, which Vatican Radio also said was linked with Pope Francis's teachings on the environment.

The Pope has denounced wasteful practices and said clean drinking water is vital for both people and the environment.

Meteorologists in Italy have recorded just 26 days of rain in the first six months of the year, while in June and July more than 70 per cent less rain fell than normal.

Weather experts say Spring 2017 was Italy's third driest in some 60 years with the drought putting Rome at risk of drastic water rationing - a measure due to be considered later this week by authorities.

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