Can High Tech Flood Gates Save Venice?

Can Italy’s Sinking City be Saved by Mobile Floodgates?

venice, flood, gates, water, engineering, MOSE, italyKnown as the “floating city,” Venice’s marshy position is flooded regularly. While Venetians have long known the city is sinking, rising tides are now making residents fearful that its demise is near.  

In an effort to stem the rising tide, the Italian government  is erecting 78 electromechanical flood gates to isolate the city and its surrounding lagoon.

The project is called the MOSE (MOdulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, Experimental Electromechanical Module). The $5.5 billion engineering feat has been under construction for the 

last decade and is now in its final phase.  Althought the project is immense in scale and ambition, it actaully operates with relatively simple technology. The gates will be submerged at the boundary of the Venetian lagoon and the Adriatic Sea. When a high-tide is forecasted, compressed air will raise the gates to prevent the tides from rushing into the city.

However, surrounding a port city with an impenetrable series of gates isn’t the best thing for business. To head off any barriers to trade, the MOSE project will also include three locks that will accommodate merchant vessels.

According to project experts, MOSE will be completed sometime in 2014. If the flood gates meet their aim, the 1,300 year old city might stay afloat for another 100 years.  

Images Courtesy of Wikipedia & Magistrato Alle Acque Di Venez