The prospect of increasingly high tides can be a worrying thought for anyone, but imagine if you lived somewhere like Venice. Imagine if you faced having to check the tide times to see the next time a gondola was likely to try to barge its way in through your front door, not to mention the uniquely aromatic water from the canals.
Flippant comments aside, the effects of global warming on the tides is a serious concern for the people of the Italian city, prompting a huge infrastructure project that has been cited as one of the most vital ever in the history of Venice.
This project is not just aimed at preserving the valuable tourist economy of the world-renowned holiday hot spot, but is seen as essential to protect the history, lives and livelihoods of the people who live and work in the city both now and in the future.
The MOSE project – named in reference to Moses and the way in which the Red Sea was parted – is aimed at saving the Venetian Lagoon and the city itself from the damaging effects of ever-rising tides.
The project, which is now almost 80 per cent finished, is set to be completed next year. It will have cost around 5.5 billion Euros and includes the creation of 78 mobile barriers at the Chioggia, Malamocco and the Lido inlets. These are the gaps which allow the Adriatic waters to flow into the lagoon.
The steel-gated barriers are normally located beneath the surface of the water but if particular high tides are forecast they can be raised temporarily to cut the Adriatic out and reduce the risk of flooding.
These gaps span between 800 metres and 380 metres, meaning that the MOSE system is evidence of a major feat of modern day engineering and a signal of the global efforts now being made to seek innovative solutions to the growing threat of rising tides.