The mayor of Milan signed an ordinance Saturday turning off the
spigots of public decorative fountains and the city's archbishop
prayed for rain in a tour of churches as northern Italy endures one
of its worst droughts in decades, Trend reports citing ABC News.
The city ordinance follows the declaration Friday of a state of
emergency in the surrounding Lombardy region, which has endured an
unusually early heat wave and months without significant rainfall.
Neighboring Emilia Romagna and Piedmont have undertaken similar
Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala said the ordinance would turn off
decorative fountains except those holding flora and fauna that need
fresh water. It further limits use of water sprinklers except for
The mayor also decreed that shops in Italy's business and
fashion capital can't set thermostats under 26 degrees Celsius (79
F) and must keep their doors closed to avoid overtaxing the power
In a Facebook post, Sala invited Milanese to do their part and
reduce water use as much as possible at home, in private gardens
and even when cleaning terraces and courtyards.
Separately, Archbishop Mario Delpini made a pilgrimage Saturday
to pray for“the gift of rain,” visiting three churches that serve
the farming communities on the outskirts of Milan. He recited the
Rosary and used holy water to bless a field in front of the St.
Martin Olearo di Mediglia church.
Italy's drought has dried up rivers crucial for irrigation,
including the Po, threatening some 3 billion euros ($3.1 billion)
in agriculture, Italian farm lobby Coldiretti said this week.
Italy's confederation of agricultural producers, Copagri, estimates
the loss of 30%-40% of the seasonal harvest.
While unusual heat and lack of rainfall are to blame for the
current crisis, Italy has a notoriously wasteful water
infrastructure that national statistics agency ISTAT estimates
loses 42% of drinking water from distribution networks each year,
in large part due to old and poorly maintained pipes.
Italy's civil protection agency is gathering information from
regions and various national ministries to propose a broader state
of emergency for affected regions. Hundreds of towns and cities
across the north have already passed various ordinances calling for
responsible water use to avoid the possibility of rationing.
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