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That's horrible. Poor Venice. Are people there worried about global warming too?

Beyond worried.


Although people like to blame one thing and global warming is the popular enemy right now, there are many factors including global warming that contribute to Venice's Acqua Alta problems today. From the reading I have done and documentaries I have seen on the subject, years of neglecting the cleaning of the canals has played a major role in the high water problems--they have only recently returned to damming them and dredging the accumulated silt.
I had, also seen an interesting documentary on how the Venetians of centuries ago would raise the floors of their homes to counteract the high water. There is an excavation project on Torcello where archeologists have found another structure below the church on the island. Needless to say, they have been dealing with this problems for centuries.
There's the land fills on the mainland which raise the water levels and all the failed attempts to combat high water which made the problem worse....so many problems resulting in tragedy for Venice.

Maybe the mayor fears that the Mose floodgates will be one of the fixes that will sink Venice even further.


I was here Saturday and although I expected a high tide of 109 cm, I was surprised by the 132 cm. It is amazing how everyone carries on - boots, elevated walkways etc. One problem I did see that concerns me is that a fireboat could not get down a canal because it couldn't get under a bridge. Although I have been here for most of the floods of the past 10 years, I had never thought about the problems of getting ambulances or fireboats to side canals during very high tides. Another reason Moses is needed.

nan mc.

I cannot way I am against the Mose, but I must say, it seems a complicated issue. This past summer, when I walked down to the end of Lido with a Venetian friend to one of the inlets where the work was in progress, you should have seen her reaction, nothing less than shock. "Caspita, look what they've done! This was all natural, practically a wildlife preserve," she lamented, eyeing the ravaging the [de]construction had caused.

Flooding is a real issue, certainly, but Venetians have watched the lagoon life they grew up with simply evaporate with the increase in mass tourism and the changes the city's undergone to support it. I don't expect them to pull over all the water taxis to return to simpler times, but the lagoon culture could certainly, certainly use some looking after.

I was at the Fenice Saturday night (through a gracious gift from a friend), and the elderly gentleman in my box had brought his flat, plastic boots in a little sack. "Just in case," he said.

Just saw this article in the Veniceword newsletter this morning. I'd like to understand a little bit more about it:

In a proposal that sounds like science fiction, a firm from Romagna last week suggested a plan to raise all of Venice by two metres to save it from high tides. The firm is asking for permission to conduct a test at its own expense, so it appears to be a serious proposal. The company's patented technology has already been used on hundreds of bell towers, overpasses, and buildings, in one case raising a 1200 ton water tank in Kazakhstan by 40 metres. The technique is relatively simple: poles are inserted under each structure, filled with concrete, and jacked up. The poles can support from 50 to 250 tons at a cost of 1500 euros per square metre. The total cost to raise Venice would be about 11 billion euros, a not exorbitant sum considering that several thousand houses and storerooms could be rehabilitated as a result of the process.

Something else to "metere in discorso."

p.s. DIdn't get out to investigate the Venetian Line because...oh, right, the water was high:


Thanks for your blog, Norman. I'm leaving all the substance to you. ;-)


Nan is so right---one report about the Mose floodgates said that the gates may be engaged so often that it will affect aquatic life in the lagoon making it a stagnant pool. Although I think that view is extreme, I don't think you can build something so big and not expect it to tip the delicate balance in the lagoon.


The high water platforms were out and ready when I was in Venice in October. I didn't realize what they were there for until a few days after we arrived...at first thinking that they were thoughtful seats for weary walkers. It is alarming to think that the water more than covered the top of them. Poor Venice.


My relatives in Venice seem to think that this last acqua alta was "life as usual."
They said it lasted only a couple of hours. Mind you, several of them live on the Giudecca. They were amused by the concern.
It never seemed to get too severe on La Giudecca, and the flood map shows that it is much less affected than San Marco, for instance.

Business as usual is the Venetian attitude, for sure. You become inured to inundation after a point. But it is still the death of a thousand cuts.

nan mc.

That's a good point; one that I think most people trying to understand this phenomenon forget: at its worst, high-tide only lasts the length of the tide itself: 6 hours in, 6 hours out...with plenty advance warning (I just signed up for an SMS notification to be sent to my cell).

It's pretty inconvenient, though, if you can't afford to just wait it out; i.e., if you have a train to catch, or are a store owner who has to clear everything off the floor level, slap in the panel barrier, then vaccuum up the errant water that filters in...etc. The people who make out best are those who sell those yellow plastic tie boots to the day's travelers...

Last week's was not too bad, nor has the flooding this year been nearly as frequent, or as bad (160 cm last Nov...devastante) as last fall; and we're probably due for a break now till Feb or March.

We'll see if they've begun to consider the Raising of Venice proposal by then.


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