From the foundational myth of Romulus and Remus coming from the river…water has been inherent to the foundation of Rome. With ancient aqueducts and baroque fountains water symbolizes Rome’s dominion over nature.
Today though Rome is facing a drought and high temperatures. The Mayor is looking at water rationing for 1.5 million Romans to 8hrs a day. In June to save water Rome began shutting off the water to some of the cities many water fountains , some of them historical landmarks.
The city’s water utility Acea, is rushing to repair some 2,000kms of the 7,000kms of water piping. Hundreds of litres per second is being saved as the work is done. The piping is so antiquated that they estimate that some 44% of the water is stolen, spills into the ground or pools on the streets.
So far Rome is experiencing the second hottest spring/summer recorded in the last 60 yrs, also one of the driest with 26 days of rain vs 88 in 2016. 7 of Italy’s 20 regions have declared an emergency to address the drought. Crops have also been damaged to the tune of 2 billion euros. even the Vatican has turned off some 100 fountains.
So many people in Rome thought an abundance of water was their birthright. As we find throughout the world water is never an issue until it is an issue..and then it becomes a big issue. The loss of 44% of the water in their utility speaks to someone took their eye off the infrastructure and now they have to pay the price.