Residents of some towns in northern Italy will face fines of up to 500 euro per person for wasting water, local authorities announced.
Among the regions affected are Piedmont, Liguria, Lombardy and Trentino.
This past winter has been Italy's driest in 65 years, and rainfall has been 80% lower than average.
Included in the activities considered to be "wasting" water are washing vehicles, filling swimming pools, and watering gardens. Sprinklers were ordered to be shut, and limits have been placed on the use of tap water during the nighttime hours.
In one village in Liguria, the water supply was shut off between 8:00p.m. and 8:00a.m., after the town registered a severe water shortage.
The Guardian quoted Francesco Pietrasanta, mayor of the Piedmont town of Quarona, as saying, "I don’t ever recall a situation of this kind in winter. We haven’t had any rain since 8 December. 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."
Massimo Niero, the mayor of Cisano sul Neva, in Liguria, told Il Vostro Giornale, "It hasn’t snowed and it hasn’t rained in six months. There will be problems in the summer."