Wars of the ‘noses’: Drought threat­ens Rome’s eternal drink­ing foun­tains

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

Bak­ing sum­mer heat has forced Rome to close some of the drink­ing foun­tains known as “big noses”, or “na­soni”, that con­stantly gush fresh wa­ter on thou­sands of street cor­ners, caus­ing a public out­cry. Hit by the soar­ing tem­per­a­tures dry­ing out south­ern Europe, the Ital­ian cap­i­tal has started turn­ing off up to 30 of the 2,800 dis­tinc­tive curved metal taps ev­ery day, dis­may­ing Ro­mans and prompt­ing con­cerns home­less peo­ple would be­come de­hy­drated.

Bran­dish­ing a plastic bot­tle in the cen­tral Pi­azza Venezia, city res­i­dent Carmelo Teti asked, “How can you take away fresh wa­ter from tourists who walk and want to re­fresh them­selves?” “When I go around I fill up this bot­tle with wa­ter be­cause to buy min­eral wa­ter costs and I can­not af­ford it,” he said.

In a let­ter to Rome’s mayor, Vir­ginia Raggi, wa­ter com­pany Acea blamed the “ex­cep­tional drought” for the tem­po­rary mea­sure and said: “We are ab­so­lutely aware of the in­con­ve­nience that might be caused.” The com­pany said it was com­mit­ted to re­plac­ing and fix­ing the city’s de­cayed and rup­tured pipes, which ac­cord­ing to con­sumer group Co­da­cons leak 40 per­cent of the wa­ter they carry.

Part of the plan is also to help limit the amount of wa­ter taken from pic­turesque nearby Lake Brac­ciano, whose sink­ing sur­face level has prompted a lo­cal cam­paign to pro­tect it.

The Com­mit­tee for the De­fence of Lake Brac­ciano was crit­i­cal, say­ing: “You won’t save Lake Brac­ciano by leav­ing Rome’s home­less thirsty,” echo­ing a warn­ing from the Red Cross. En­vi­ron­men­tal group Eco Italia Sol­i­dale said the “big noses” ac­counted for only 1 per­cent of Rome’s wa­ter sup­ply but helped in keep­ing sew­ers clean and wa­ter­ing plants in public places.—Reuters

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