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Italy Facing Water Rationing as It Struggles with Severe Drought

Italy has experienced one of its driest springs in some 60 years and some parts of the country have seen rainfall totals 80 percent below normal. This drought has impacted the Italian capitol, Rome where there have been two years of lower-than-average rainfall. The situation has become so severe that the water company that serves Rome is proposing cutting supplies for eight hours a day to 1.5 million residents blaming a decision by officials to stop it taking supplies from a nearby lake.

Last month, the governor of Lazio region, which includes the Italian capital, ordered no more water drawn from Lake Bracciano, which supplies some of the Italian capital, because the drastically decreasing water level posed danger to the aquatic life of the lake, some 25 miles from the city. The lake used to serve only as a backup water supply, but recent years have seen it being tapped on a regular basis.

Water supply pipelines in the Rome area — famed in ancient times for its aqueducts, segments of which still stand — are notoriously leaky. Italian news sources report that the water loss rate ranges from 26 percent in the north to 46 percent in the central and southern parts of the country. So dire is the situation that the Vatican began shutting off its famous fountains on Tuesday.



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