THEY are as emblematic of Rome as the Colosseum, but the city’ s constantly flowing, traditional water fountains are to be turned off as a severe drought grips Italy. There are 2,800 freestanding fountains, nicknamed nasoni, or big noses, in piazzas and on street corners across the capital. But from Monday, the city authorities will start turning them off to conserve water. The fountains are likely to remain dry throughout the summer, and the decision to has been criticised by residents as well as consumer groups. “There will be negative consequences for everyone,” said Carlo Rienzi, the president of Codacons, a consumers’ rights organisation. “Turning off the fountains will force tourists and citizens to buy bottles of water in bars and shops, and prices will no doubt be hiked up. “The fountains represent just one per cent of Rome’ s wasted water, against 50 per cent caused by pipeline leaks.” Weeks without rain have affected vast areas of Italy. Farmers say the dry spell has cost them more than 1billion (£880 million) in lost production so far this year. Shepherds in Sardinia are calling for emergency funds to save their flocks while grapes in some parts of the country will have to be harvested much earlier than usual.
nick squires in rome
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