By Damir Jelic (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Damir Jelic (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The Baroque fountains at St. Peter’s Square are also affected.

For the first time ever the Vatican is turning off the water. The 100 decorative and drinking fountains around the Vatican will be shut off to alleviate the water shortage in Rome.

The Vatican took the decision to turn off the taps of its iconic fountains for the first time in its recorded history . This step was taken as continuous dry weather in Italy has led to severe water shortages all over the region. On its website, the Vatican confirmed that the Holy See has taken such measures to conserve water. The fountains in St. Peter's Square have been shut off as well.

Italy Fountain

The Vatican states that it is trying to lead by example. Pope Francis has spoken out about environmental protection previously.

Meteorologists have said that the spring of 2017 was the third driest season in Italy in 60 years. The situation is so bad that Roman authorities are considering imposing water rationing in the city.

According to broadcasts by the Vatican Radio, this decision was taken in accordance with Pope Francis's philosophy and teachings regarding the environment. The pontiff has praised the availability of clean drinking water. He has said harsh words against engaging in wasteful practices. The pope has been on record saying that environmental friendly steps must be taken to protect both the environment and the people.

Vatican Radio has broadcasted that the fountains of the city will not have water. Even the garden fountains will be switched off. Greg Burke, the Vatican spokesperson, said that the authorities, for the first time in known history, will turn taps off of about 100 fountains, including the St. Peter's Square's iconic Baroque ones. The two fountains recirculate water taken from an aqueduct constructed during ancient Roman times.

The drought has been going for a long time. This has forced officials of Italy's Lazio region to stop the pumping out of water from Lake Bracciano. The waterbody is located about 19 miles to the north of Rome city. The inadequate rainfall during 2015 and 2016 have slowly depleted the lake. The latter provides eight percent of the water supply of the city.

Nicola Zingaretti, the President of Lazio region, in his interview with a media house, said that the water level of the lake has "fallen too much and we risk an environmental disaster." Adverse climactic conditions have already compelled city officials in Rome to close the city's public drinking fountains. The continuing drought could lead to tough water rationing. If it comes to this, the 1.5 million residents of the city will suffer. There have been talks about Rome taking Vatican's lead and shutting water flow from all fountains in the city.


Follow the Conversation on Twitter