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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Vatican shuts down fountains as Rome deals with drought

While Rome reels from one of its worst droughts in decades, the Vatican is doing its part to conserve water by shutting down the city-state’s 100 fountains.

The office governing Vatican City State announced on 25th July 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 decision is in line with the teachings of Pope Francis, who reminds us in his encyclical Laudato Si’ how ‘the habit of wasting and discarding’ has reached ‘unprecedented levels’ while ‘fresh drinking water is an issue of primary importance, since it is indispensable for human life and for supporting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems,'” the office said.

The prolonged drought has forced officials from the Lazio region of Italy to halt pumping water from Lake Bracciano, located roughly 19 miles north of Rome. Less than usual rainfalls in the past two years have steadily depleted the lake, which provides eight per cent of the city’s water supply.

In an interview with Italian news outlet Tgcom24, Nicola Zingaretti, the region’s president, said the lake’s water level has “fallen too much and we risk an environmental disaster.”

Picture: A dry water spigot is seen in St Peter’s Square on 25th July. Rome is considering water-rationing plans in the midst of a drought. (CNS photo/Junno Arocho Esteves).