On 12 November 2019, Venetians experienced the worst flooding since 1966 when high water reached 1.85 meters above sea levels. Not that flooding is an exceptional event in Venice, a city built on islets and sits in the middle of a lagoon. It experiences regular flooding brought by high tides or “aqua alta” from the Adriatic sea. In recent years there has been an increase in high tides. Alvise Papa, head of the Venice Center High Tides says that “this is the first time in history that high waters have reached the peak of 1.40 meters five times in a year. The maximum until now had been two times in a year” (Momigliano, 2019).
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro claims this is the effects of climate change. The lowest point in the city, which is also a popular tourist area – St Mark’s square is the first to be flooded high tides of 80 or more centimetres (Momigliano, 2019).
The Innovation Origin published an article on the construction of the Moses Dam, a flood defence to deter tidal waters from entering the city’s squares and streets. Plans to build a flood barrier began after the tidal wave of 1996. The city inaugurated the flood barrier in July 2020 and will be officially operations on 21 December 2021 (Kieckens, 2020).
The article describes the flood barrier as, “The Venetian flood barrier is made up of 78 caissons lying on the bottom (at a depth of 12-14 meters) of the three inlet channels that link Venice’s lagoon to the Adriatic Sea. The total length of the dam is 1.6 km. A hollow metal sluice gate filled with water sits at the bottom of each concrete basin” (Kieckens, 2020).
Moses Dam is an excellent example of climate adaptation against flooding. With predictions of continuous sea-level rise and more ferocious storms, rains, and winds, the Moses dam would prove a wise investment for Venice to build resilience and protect its residents and tourism industry from damages and loss caused by frequent flooding.
To know more about the Venetian flood barrier as a climate adaptation strategy, its construction, and the maintenance required to operate it, CLICK on the link below:
Momigliano, A. (2019, November 20). The Flooding of Venice: What Tourists Need to Know. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/20/travel/venice-flooding.html
Kieckens, E. (2020, July 10). Venice keeps feet dry thanks to the Moses Dam. Innovations Origins. Retrieved from https://innovationorigins.com/venice-keeps-feet-dry-thanks-to-the-moses-dam/
BACKGROUND PHOTO CREDIT: Venice, Italy by Karl Hipolito. This photo was used with permission from the owner.