Rome: As the heatwave and drought continues, residents face the possibility of water rationing

Little rain and leaky pipes have joined forces to put the 4.3 million residents of Italy’s capital city, Rome, at risk of water rationing.

Meteorologists noted that the nation was in the grip of one of the driest springs in some six decades, as part of the prolonged heatwave affecting southern Europe. Some parts of the country have seen only a fifth of the rainfall typical of this time of the year, and Sardinia, one of the regions that have been hit the hardest, is seeking natural disaster status.

And the water supply pipelines, renowned in Ancient Rome, and of which segments stand to this day, are well-known to be leaky, losing as much as 45 per cent of water in its networks.

The worries regarding the water supply have even reached the political arena, with Nicvola Zingaretti, the governor of the Lazio region, which includes Roma, ordering that no water was to be drawn from Lake Bracciano, a water source for some parts of the capital city, as the drastically lowering water level posed hazardous for the aquatic life in the lake.

But ACEA, a water company from Rome, cautioned that without the water resources from Lake Bracciano, water rationing loomed, with water supply shutdowns lasting as long as eight hours a day in alternating neighbourhoods, and that the fountains, including Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain, may be shut down, with mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi, turning off thousands of the city’s many fountains in an effort to conserve water resources.

Raggi has said that she wants to avoid any rationing of water in the city. “It is unacceptable that over one and a half million Romans should be without water,” she told Il Messaggero newspaper.


Sources: Il Messaggero, The Guardian