Tuesday, August 28

Summer in Rome: Who turned off the aqua?

Picture compliments of Travel-Leaf.net
check out their article for more on the nasoni
Ahhhh...those refreshing long-spouted fountains of Rome, the appropriately nick-named, nasoni.  Who doesn't love them?  Moreover, who doesn't particularly love them when the mercury tops 90 degrees?  I literally plan my walks around town just by way of the nasoni fountains.  And now, you can even download a groovy (and free!) app that will tell you where the nearest one is (of course, if you're roaming in Rome, it'll cost you more than the €2 mini-bottles of water you buy at the bars...)

But, as you leave your home or hotel where you no longer run the water when brushing your teeth, you see the water just spilling out 24/7 and down into the drains.  The claim is that the run-off goes toward watering Rome's agricultural fields; but I wonder if that's not just an urban legend.  The park near my house was hooked up to the nasoni with an expensive irrigation system that stopped working pretty much the day the water works trucks drove away.  Needless to say, of the hundreds of newly planted bushes there, only a handful have survived.

I have oft moped about the ludicrousness of dumping good, clean water right down the drain.  The EU fines Italy millions year after year for this wanton waste of a precious resource.  No one can comprehend why the fountains simply don't have taps (although Travel Leaf provides an explanation that holds water...the taps were vandalized).  But, with the economic crisis leaving city budgets blistering from the heat of Mr. Monti's debt management, turns out a solution could be found.  This summer, the water started spilling out more slowly.  I know that from how long I'm bent over, hands cupped so my dog, Arcibaldo, can take a drink (two dogs later and neither can drink from the tap?!).  Turns out, the city, in order to slow the cost of serving good, clean water to the populace (and multitudes of tourists, I might add) took the pressure down a notch or two.  Brilliant.  The cost savings is said to be in the tens of millions.
Of course, this, after they levied the evil tourist tax in order to 'improve tourist services' - so we get less water in return.  But either way, I'm okay with that since most tourists are aghast at the waste, and, it's a huge improvement on boiling hot and dirty Milan where they simply took away all the fountains.  Not as a cost saving measure, mind you, but because people were - horrors upon horrors! - actually using the free flowing water.  To wash their cars or, in the case of the homeless, to clean themselves.  The fountains were ruining the bella figura image of the city.  Although I would have liked to invite the Mayor to step out of her insulated car and walk by a stinking homeless man...maybe she would have thought better of it.

But as for me, I think it's a nice step in the right direction (both turning down the pressure and getting a town Mayor to mix with the hoi polloi).  
And, if you want to know how one actually should take a sip from these wonderful fountains, check out The Beehive Hotel's Cross-Pollinate charming How To Video.  Now, if I can only get Archie to look at the video, too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

good one!!!