Drought in Italy prompts Vatican to shut off fountains

The Vatican announced Tuesday that it will temporarily shut off its 100 water fountains, as Italy deals with extreme drought conditions.

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The move corresponds to a 2015 encyclical by Pope Francis, “Laudate Si,” which was critical of global waste and noted the importance of clean drinking water to sustain life, Vatican Radio said Tuesday.

The order affects all fountains in the Vatican Gardens as well as two large fountains in St. Peter’s Square. Several of Vatican fountains have already been shut off.
The spring in Italy has been its third-driest in 60 years, and 60 percent of Italy’s farmlands are under threat of a drought. Ten regions have prepared emergency funding requests and a state of emergency has already been declared in two northern provinces.

The country’s dairy, olive and wine grape industries have been particularly hard hit by the lack of water, the BBC reported.

The estimated cost to Italy’s agriculture industry so far is $1.7 billion.

By Ed Adamczyk