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Pope shuts off Vatican fountains amid drought

IANS | Vatican City |

The Vatican has started shutting off its fountains amid a prolonged drought in many parts of Italy.

The drought hit two-thirds of farmland and cost Italian agriculture $2.3 billion. There were about 100 fountains in the Vatican, including two Baroque masterpieces, and all will be switched off, BBC reported on Tuesday.

Vatican Radio said the move was in line with Pope Francis' teachings on the environment. The Pope laid out his ecological fears in a 2015 encyclical, which denounced wasteful practices and highlighted the importance of clean drinking water.

The drought had affected many other areas of Italy. A state of emergency was earlier declared in two northern provinces. In southern Italy, hundreds of people were evacuated this month as firefighters battled wildfires.