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Tue October 20 2020

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Venice flood gates come into operation

6 Oct Venice’s new flood gates have been deployed in earnest for the first time.

St Mark's Square would normally have been under water during the high tide
St Mark's Square would normally have been under water during the high tide

Use of the Mose system stopped the high tide from entering the city. Normally, St Mark's Square -  the lowest point of the city – would have been flooded to a depth of 400mm-450mm.   

The city council reported that the lifting of the gates - raised for the first time on Saturday in unfavourable weather conditions - worked. The flow of sea towards the lagoon was interrupted.

The Mose barriers consist of flap gates, installed in the bottom of the inlets, that allow temporary separation of the lagoon from the sea at high tides.

Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said that it was a historic day for Venice. “There is a great satisfaction after decades in which we see the waters arrive everywhere in the historic city in defenseless ways, creating extensive damage,” he said. Mose had been shown to work, he said.

The barriers had already been raised both individually and in a ‘dress rehearsal’ but it was the first time that they had been operated when protection was needed.

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“We have shown that technology and science win,” he added. “We will have to continue to work because the Mose is not yet completed but with today Venice begins to see a crack.” It is now a priority to conclude the work along with resolving funding issues to do with the maintenance and management, he said.

The operations for raising the Mose gates began at 8.30am. The first effects of the slowdown in the growth of the tide occurred after half an hour. At 10.10am the Mose was completely raised. When at sea the tide reached its maximum of 1.32m, the difference in height between the sea and the lagoon - guaranteed by the barriers - was 620mm.

Four mobile barriers were raised: at the Malamocco inlet, at Chioggia and two at the Lido, for a total of 78 gates.

At 4.10pm the lowering of the Mose began with a progressive reopening of the connection between the sea and the lagoon.

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