Venice dry water city
Gondolas, water taxis, and ambulance boats are currently unable to operate on many of the popular canals in Lake City. It hasn’t rained in northern Italy for several weeks.
Desiccant tourist magnet: Gondolas lie at the bottom of the Grand Canal (February 6, 2023).
Photo: Andrea Merola (Keystone)
An area of high pressure has dominated the weather in Western Europe for the past 15 days: Venice, which has been affected by floods, is currently experiencing unusually low water levels. Sometimes the water level at low tide dropped 60 cm below the normal level. Traffic on the smaller channels had to be stopped. Gondolas, water taxis, and ambulance boats found it impossible to navigate some of the famous canals.
Sometimes the gondolas were in the mud. Experts attribute this emergency to a special weather condition: an area of high pressure over Italy, combined with the phase of the new moon, and special wind conditions. The altitude over northern Italy is currently a barrier against new weather disturbances, with less precipitation.
Drought declared long ago
It hasn’t rained in northern Italy for weeks, and some rivers are currently completely dry. Environmental protection organization Legambiente said on Monday that the Po, Italy’s longest river, which flows from the Alps into the Adriatic Sea, has 60 percent less water than normal at this time of year. In addition, there has been 53 percent less snowfall in the Italian Alps in recent months than the long-term average. The spring weather, which many dream about, is becoming more and more problematic: the wind usually blows weakly from the northwest, driving sea waters away from Venice, and tourists in masked bustle and carnival bustle are anxiously filming. dry channels.
Massimiliano Pascoe of the Italian research institute CNR told the Italian daily:Corriere della Sera“The current water deficit has accumulated since the winter of 2020/2021:“ We need to restore 500 mm of rain in the northwestern regions: we need fifty days of rain. One of the reasons for the drought is the direction of the Atlantic turbulence that has changed in recent years. They could have moved north of the Alps or to the south, excluding northern Italy.
Flooding, not lack of water, is usually a problem in Lake City. On the night of November 13, 2019, Venice was hit by a catastrophic tsunami. At that time, the water rose to 1.87 meters above sea level. This was the highest level since a devastating flood in 1966, when it reached 1.94 metres.
Environmental protection organization Legambiente appealed to the government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni on Monday and demanded a national water strategy: specifically, environmentalists proposed various measures to reduce water consumption and better use of rainwater.
How low the water is at the moment can be clearly seen from the moorings of the “vaporetti”, watercraft typical of Venice. Wooden piers rise high out of the water, and a few motor boats almost disappear beneath them. At least the latest weather forecasts give us a sigh of relief: much-needed rain and snow are expected in the Alps in the coming days.
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