Venice anti-flood system slammed by Italia Nostra

'MOSE is inadequate, will have to be demolished'

Venice anti-flood system slammed by Italia Nostra

Venice, December 12 - Italian heritage and conservation body Italia Nostra on Monday slammed a controversial flood-prevention system under construction in Venice for being "incapable" of halting dangerously high water. "In case of a repeat of the 1966 flood, MOSE would be incapable of keeping the lagoon waters below 110 centimeters," it said in a statement. The record 'acqua alta' (high water) was in the great flood of 1966, at 194cm. Italia Nostra was citing new research from Venetian engineer Paolo Pizzarolli, a member of France's national research center. "MOSE is inadequate to safeguard Venice, and it is not able to resist flooding," said Italia Nostra. "If it is completed in 2016, according to the most optimistic forecasts, it will have to be demolished soon thereafter". When the 5.7-billion-euro project was conceived in 1984, tide levels were expected to rise by roughly 22cm by the year 2100. According to Italia Nostra, up-to-date projections foresee an 80cm rise by the end of the century. Italia Nostra added that even normal flood conditions would pose a serious threat to the anti-flood system. "The grandiose MOSE project would be insufficient to protecting the city from the sea if current climate forecasts prove accurate," it said. Floods have reached chest-high levels several times since this autumn, flooding stores and ground-floor apartments. The causes are both natural and man-made. Decades of pumping groundwater caused significant damage to the delicate foundation before the practice was called off. Weather experts say the high-water threat has been increasing in recent years as heavier rains have hit northern Italy. Other possible explanations for the phenomenon include the sea floor rising as a result of incoming silt and gas extraction in the sea off Venice undermining the islands. According to a recent study, plate tectonics are also to blame as the Adriatic plate is sliding beneath the Apennine Mountains, causing the area to drop in elevation.

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