Canadian Consulting Engineer

Venice builds floodgates to keep out tides

New Project Moses, a controversial $3-billion dollar government funded scheme to keep Venice above water, has been...

September 16, 2002   Canadian Consulting Engineer

New Project Moses, a controversial $3-billion dollar government funded scheme to keep Venice above water, has been given the go-ahead by Italian officials.
Scientific American magazine reports that construction of the floodgates is set to begin in December.
The scheme will raise the sidewalks and shores of the city’s lowest lying areas by one metre to prevent them from flooding. The city is sinking about half-an-inch per century. The sinking is partly due to the movement of the earth’s shifting geological plates, and partly due to the depletion of groundwater below the city. Industry was pumping water for manufacturing and agricultural purposes until it was stopped in 1979, after it had caused the city to sink a foot in two decades.
The solution approved involves the construction of 79 mobile floodgates that will separate the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea when the tide is a meter above the high water mark. Besides building the floodgates, the city is raising the sidewalks and shores of low lying areas of one metre.
A private consortium of architects and engineers known as Consorzio Venzia Nuova are behind the project, charged with keeping the historic city from drowning.
See the article that appeared in Canadian Consulting Engineer by contributing editor Rosalind Cairncross, P.Eng., “Venice, the Incredible Floating City is in Danger,” October-November 1999. Click on “Archives” to view.


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