Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Romans threatened with water rationing as Italy's heatwave drags on

Libertarians & conservatives would just let the water run out.


Angela Giuffrida in Rome and Matthew Taylor
Monday 24 July 2017 12.11 EDT

More than a million residents of Rome are facing water rationing for up to eight hours a day as the prolonged heatwave that has ravaged southern Europe takes its toll on the Italian capital.

Some businesses are already reporting sporadic disruption to their supply, while last month mayor Virginia Raggi turned off thousands of the city’s public drinking fountains in an effort to save water as the drought set in.

Officials from the Italian utility Acea, the Lazio region that contains Rome, and the environment ministry will meet this week to discuss the possibility of rationing the water supply to about half of the city’s 3 million residents.
Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome
Virginia Raggi, the mayor of Rome

Lazio’s governor, Nicola Zingaretti, has ordered that a ban on drawing water from drought-hit Lake Bracciano, which lies about 40km from the capital and supplies some of its water, will come into force on 28 July.


Blazes have broken out across southern Italy and Sicily, where temperatures have climbed well above 40C [104F]. Wildfires near the Calampiso seaside resort west of Palermo, the Sicilian capital, forced the evacuation by boat of more than 700 tourists earlier this month.

High temperatures compounded by strong winds have helped fires spread after months of below-average rainfall. Farm animals perished while several farms and more than 150 hectares of pine forest were destroyed in a blaze in Sicily this month.


The drought has ravaged two-thirds of agricultural land across the peninsula, causing an estimated €2bn (£1.8bn) worth of damage, according to Coldiretti, the farmers’ association.

Drought in the northern agricultural provinces of Italy prompted the government to declare states of emergency. Beppe Grillo, leader of the anti-establishment Five Star Movement, has called for a similar response to the wildfires.

In southern Italy the heatwave has sparked at least 20 wildfires, including on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius near Naples.


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