Venice is sinking

Venice is home to roughly 120 islands, 177 canals, 391 bridges, and over 600,000 people. Sadly, all that might be lost in a few decades. 

Unfortunately for all of the above, the floating city is at risk, with some predictions stating that the city might sink under the ocean as early as 2100. But Venice is not alone, as other coastal cities face similar problems. The city has suffered two major flooding events in recent memory. In 1966, water levels rose 194cm (6.4ft) above sea level, causing serious infrastructural damage to estimated three-quarters of the city’s businesses. A slightly smaller flood also occurred in 2019, with tides 187cm (6.1ft) above sea level flooding 80% of the city and causing an estimated €1b worth of damage.

Any efforts to avert the potential sinking? 

Venice is uniquely positioned as a rich but small destination city that may be able to act as a testing ground for futuristic anti-flooding technologies. Currently, Venice employs multiple technologies to protect it from the seas, with its main defense being the Mose project, a series of mobile gates which can be raised and lowered to protect against flooding. While it has helped in its own way, it is not a measure that the authorities are very comfortable with. 

Why not? 

The project has cost the city over €8b and might cause long-term damage to the lagoon Venice sits in. Possible future projects to protect the city include a Dutch-style series of dams and barriers, as well as the banning of normal boats in favor of hydrofoil boats to reduce wake-related damage. One wrench in the works for the city’s future plans? It’s also sinking as sea levels rise, dropping 15 cm (5.9 in) into the mud over the last century. 

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