Hairdressers threatened with fines for over-shampooing

The mayor of a northern Italian town has threatened to fine hairdressers for double-shampooing during a drought

Hairdressers in the northern Italian town of Castenaso face fines of up to €500 ($527) if they shampoo a customer’s hair twice during an intense drought in the region under new regulations. Mayor Carlo Gubellini told local media outlets he announced the restrictions on Saturday to give hairdressers time to “adapt,” as they are closed Sunday and Monday.

At least 13 liters of water a minute flows from an open tap, and at least 20 liters are required to rinse a person’s hair twice, according to a “handbook” distributed to mark the new rule. It’s not clear how the rule is to be enforced, however.

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The mayor claimed the regulation, which is in effect until September, is widely accepted. “The feedback has been positive,” he told Corriere della Sera, insisting the rule “does not have an oppressive purpose, but rather one of empowering citizens.” Meanwhile, he said, the water shortage in the region was “really alarming.

Emilia-Romagna has enough water reserves necessary for farmland until 29 June, then from July things could get drastically worse,” he continued, referring to the region in which the town is located. Emilia-Romagna declared a drought emergency at the beginning of June.

We have about ten hairdressers with hundreds of clients a day. That means there are thousands of liters that we can save every day,” he told Italian state TV. “These savings replicated on a large scale could have enormous benefits.” 

However, not all hairdressers are onboard with the new rule, with some complaining that certain products – and certain dirty-haired customers – require multiple washes. 

The town has also urged residents to shower instead of bathing, turn off the tap when brushing teeth or shaving, and refrain from using garden hoses during the day.

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Other towns and cities in Italy have also imposed cutbacks on water usage, due to a prolonged drought from less-than-usual rain and snowfall feeding into the Po River, Italy’s longest waterway, which is reportedly 80% lower than normal. However, Castenaso is believed to be the only locale dictating what hairdressers can do in their salons. 

The northern region of Lombardy has declared a state of emergency, and the city of Milan has turned off about half of its public fountains, with residents urged to cut back on use of air conditioners after parts of the city endured power outages last week. Italy’s civil protection department chief Fabrizio Curcio has predicted further states of emergency could be imposed elsewhere in the country, along with daytime water rationing, while nighttime water restrictions are already in place in some parts of the north. The drought is believed to be costing Italian agriculture upwards of €3 billion ($3.16 billion).

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