Water rationing could be introduced in Rome on 28 July.
Rome’s water management company ACEA is considering turning off the water supply for eight hours a day in rotating districts of the capital, according to Italian news agency ANSA.
The measures could be introduced on 28 July, coinciding with the Lazio Region's order to stop water being pumped into the city from Lake Bracciano, an important source of potable water for Rome, located about 30 km north of the city.
The rationing could affect 1.5 million residents, ANSA reports, but would not affect supplies to essential services such as hospitals or to fire fighters who have been working round the clock in recent weeks to put out fires in the greater Rome area.
ACEA says that water levels at the city's reservoirs have been reduced dramatically thanks to lower-than-average rainfall over the last two years coupled with an ongoing heatwave across Italy.
The president of the Lazio Region, Nicola Zingaretti, describes the falling water levels at Lake Bracciano as a "tragedy" and warned that action was necessary to avert an "environmental disaster".
During the first six months of this year Rome had 157 mm of rain over just 26 days, compared to 649 mm of rain over 88 days during the same period last year, reports Italian daily newspaper La Stampa.
Photo: Lake Bracciano by Corriere della Sera