Public works in Venice
Hare Krishna in Venice

Last night's flooding in Venice

Last night, Venice had its first acqua alta (high water) of 2011. The 112-cm water level was relatively minor, compared to some acqua alta tides, but it was enough to inundate the Piazza San Marco and other low-lying areas of the city.

Below is a short video that was taken around 11 p.m., at the high point of the acqua alta in our San Polo neighborhood. (If you've spent time in Venice, you'll probably recognize the Fondamenta del Vin, a pedestrian street near the Rialto Bridge where several restaurants have outdoor tables alongside the Grand Canal.)

Friday update: We noticed that the city's warning sirens didn't sound before the acqua alta, as they're supposed to do when the tide is expected to reach 110 cm. A local newspaper, Il Gazzettino, is now reporting that the sirens weren't working because the Centro Maree (Tide Center) hadn't received maintenance funds.



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Andrew Hall

What are your opinions on the MOSE project? Will it work? Will it start in 2012?

Durant and Cheryl Imboden

I think the MOSE project is a good idea. Some people think it's a radical solution, but it's less radical than turning the Venetian Lagoon into a lake (another solution that has been proposed), and it isn't nearly as radical as, say, the Dutch approach to water management and land reclamation.

MOSE won't protect Venice from low to moderate flood tides, because that would require closing the lagoon so often that the Port of Venice would be put out of business. However, it should offer protection against the severe (and destructive) acqua alta tides that inundate Venice several times in a typical year--and which are likely to become a bigger problem in the future due to subsidence and rising sea levels.

Last I heard, the MOSE flood-control project was expected to be complete by 2014.

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