“I don’t ever recall a situation of this kind in winter. We haven’t had any rain since 8 December,” said Francesco Pietrasanta, the mayor of Quarona, a town in Piedmont. “There are issues with water wells, some areas have had to be supplied by water tanks. The rule is to only use water for real necessity, such as for hygiene or food reasons.”

People living in some northern Italian towns face fines for wasting water as mayors ration supplies amid a severe drought, reports the Guardian.

Italy has had one of its driest winters in the last 65 years, with rainfall 80% lower than the seasonal average. The situation has been more acute in northern regions, where some areas have been deprived of significant rainfall for three months or more. The Po, the country’s longest river, is at its lowest level recorded in winter since 1972.

Mayors of towns in regions including Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy and Trentino have introduced water-rationing measures, ranging from fountains being switched off and nightly restrictions on tap water to bans on using water for gardens and allotments, for washing cars and filling swimming pools.

Fines of up to €500 are in place for those deemed to be squandering supplies.

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