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VATICAN CITY (CBSMiami) — In Italy the lack of rain has caused a serious drought across the country. Now the Vatican is leading efforts to preserve water.

When you think of Rome, you almost always think of beautiful fountains. On Tuesday, some of them ran dry. That’s because the Vatican turned off the tap on over 100 its historical water features.

“As far as we know this is the first time in the Vatican this has happened,” said Vatican Spokesperson Greg Burke.

A severe drought across Italy has made preserving water a top priority this summer.

“This decision is very much in line with the pope’s thinking on ecology. You can’t waste and sometimes you have to be willing to make a sacrifice. We have very beautiful gardens in the Vatican. They might not be as green this year but we’ll survive,” said Burke.

Rome’s ancient water systems have served drinking and ornamental fountains for thousands of years. They remain a huge draw for tourists from around the world. They may also be turned off this week when the local authorities meet to decide on what to do.

Italy’s drought threatens 50% of its farmland and has already resulted in over $2 billion in agriculture costs, with dairy, wine and olive production among the worst hit.


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