Vatican Turns Off Historic Fountains Amid Italy Drought

The pope has decried wasteful practices and praised clean drinking water as vital for both people and the environment

Italy Water Shortages
AP

The Vatican says it is shutting off all its fountains, including those in St. Peter's Square, because of Italy's drought.

Vatican Radio on Monday said the decision is linked with Pope Francis' teachings on the environment. The pope has decried wasteful practices and praised clean drinking water as vital for both people and the environment.

Meteorologists say spring 2017 was Italy's third-driest in some 60 years. The drought has put Rome at risk for drastic water rationing, a measure being considered later this week by authorities.

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Vatican Radio said all of Vatican City's fountains will go dry, including those in its gardens, to help save water. Vatican spokesman Greg Burke says its the first time authorities could remember being forced to turn off the fountains, which inlcudes 100 fountains, including two Baroque masterpieces in St. Peter’s Square.

Francis laid out his fears for the future of the world's environment in a 2015 encyclical, a formal teaching document.

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