The Vatican has closed all its fountains to save water as an ongoing drought has hit several regions across Italy.

The decision was made by the Governorate of the Vatican State, which decided to close all the fountains throughout the territory, including those in St. Peter's Square and in the Vatican Gardens.

"The choice is in harmony with the teachings of Pope Francis who, in the Laudato si' encyclical, reminds that 'the habit of wasting and throwing away has reached unprecedented levels,'" read a statement on Radio Vaticana's website.

"'Drinkable clean water is of primary importance as it is essential for human life and to sustain terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems,'" it continued.

The move came as at least 10 out of 20 regions in Italy have called on the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies to declare natural disaster zones due to lack of water, news agency Ansa reported.

The move would mean agricultural enterprises will see their mortgage fees and taxes temporarily suspended and they will be able to access an emergency fund.

Lack of rains and hot temperatures have already caused billions of euros in damage throughout the nation, as two thirds of the territory does not have access to water, essential for camp irrigation, livestock and the farming industry.

Coldiretti, the national confederation of cultivators, said the drought has caused €2bn ($2,3bn ; £1,7bn ) in damage and the country is experiencing a -15% drop in milk production.

The drought has prompted several towns across the impacted regions to ration the use of water and introduce the "hour-tap" system, whereby citizens are given specific time windows throughout the day to use water.

Gianluca Galletti, the minister for the environment, deemed the situation in Rome as "critical" and is considering whether to declare a state of emergency upon request by Lazio region, of which Rome is the provincial capital.

Among other plans, authorities in Rome have suggested citizens will not be able to use water for eight hours a day.

Former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has called on the government to "intervene" as "Italy is bent".

"The government should act promptly to protect this precious patrimony, with extraordinary aids and by starting a serious discussion with European authorities," the media tycoon said.

Vatican fountain
Governorate of Vatican State decided to close all the fountains throughout the territory, including those in Saint Peter Square and in the Vatican Gardens GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images