Amid Rome drought, Vatican turns off all fountains to save water

The water-saving move is "in line with the teachings of Pope Francis", according to a statement on the Vatican website.

(CNN) - The Vatican has chose to turn off its famous fountains for the first time in living memory as hot dry weather triggers severe water shortages across Italy.

Standing in St Peter's Square, where two fountains by 17th-century sculptors Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini stood dry, Burke said the Vatican wanted to help.

Pope Francis has chose to shut down 100 fountains in the Vatican over the next few days in a bid to help the city of Rome survive a severe drought.

It's decision follows that of the separate Rome authorities, who have also begun to turn off some of the 2,500 drinking fountains that give the eternal city its character, as well as quenching people's thirsts in the hot summer months, a spokesman for Acea, the utility firm which runs Rome's water system, told CNN.

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In Italy the lack of rain has caused a serious drought across the country. A spokesperson for the Vatican, Greg Burke, said he thinks this is the first time this has happened, and it is a way for the Vatican to show solidarity with Rome.

All 100 of the Vatican's fountains will be turned off gradually over the coming days.

Meteorologists say the spring of 2017 was Italy's third-driest in some 60 years.

The reason for shutting a hundred spigots is a drought that has consumed much of Italy, delivering 72 percent less rain than normal in July and 74 percent less in June. The capital is now facing water rationing after a halt was ordered on pumping water from nearby Lake Bracciano.

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