ROME — 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’s teachings on the environment. The pope has decried wasteful practices and praised clean drinking water as vital for both people and the environment.
“The decision is in keeping with the teachings of Pope Francis, who in the encyclical Laudato Si’ recalls how the habit of wasting and throwing away things has reached unheard of levels, while clean drinking water represents a matter of primary importance because it is indispensable for human life and for supporting ecosystems on land and sea,” the report said.
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.
Eight percent of Rome’s drinking water comes from Lake Bracciano — located 20 miles north of the city — which has lost so much water, pumping has been halted.
Earlier this month, Rome’s water agency shut off several of the city’s ubiquitous water fountains, and now some neighborhoods might be facing their water being shut off eight hours a day.
Vatican Radio said all of Vatican City’s fountains will go dry, including those in its gardens, to help save water.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in Geneva, said the Holy See delegation will present a document on access to water to the UN in September. The presentation will be made in conjunction with the Caritas in Veritate Foundation and the Vatican’s Dicastery for Integral Human Development.
Crux staff contributed to this report.