50 years after the “Acqua Granda”, today experts say: MoSE will not save Venice.

The destiny of Venice and her lagoon are controversial, and ever more alarming. 50 years have passed since the great flood of 1966 that brought the city to its knees; that November 4 is remembered in a convention sponsored by the Telecom Future Center, which was held in San Salvador, that has dramatically brought to light the gravity of the conditions in the lagoon, and the contortion of the marine environment.

With an eye on MoSE and its already long and troubled history, the distinguished scholar Jorg Imberger, of the University of West Austrailia has warned: “the increase in sea level will render the working of MoSE useless.” And in this clear concept was also inserted the documentary film “Acqua Granda” by Emanuele Coppola, that has revealed in its extraordinary photographic and analytic voyage how the elements of the lagoon, the birds, the mollusks, have adapted to this gigantic guest, the MoSE, transforming their habits and locations from before the work, now become iron, cement and unusual vegetation, finding new places for settling and nesting.

This was already predicted many years ago by a fisherman, who, following the travel of some species of fish (flounder and sole), noted the transformation of the lagoon, contemporaneous with the installation of MoSE, and also admonished the scientific community for the lack of evaluation of environmental impact.

It is known that now the work of MoSE is stalled by scandal, but the need for the safeguard is pressing, even if it requires resources that are lacking at the moment, and someone is considering the formation of center for marine research. At the convention was Giovanni Cecconi, formerly responsible for the Office of Study of the New Venice Consortium, now head of the Venice Resilience Lab, who has proposed transforming MoSE in to a source of profit, to find the needed funds for maintenance (projected at 80 million Euro per year), as it today already shows signs of degrading over time.

Rust, flaws in the cassions and the gates, inadequate instrumentation, holes in the project plans, a mix of structural weaknesses that from 2002 until today have marked the course of the work of the New Venice Consortium and with this its consultants and designers, companies highly specialized in hydraulic engineering: a net 6 billion Euro spent on overall management.

However, MoSE has not lived up to its fundamental function, having been developed for protection from high seas: the rise in sea level of 20 cm, which instead today is projected to be 80 cm, causing the dams of MoSE to close almost daily, and reducing the lagoon to a ‘bowl effect’

The scientific world has warned how the delicate fabric of the lagoon and its ecosystems are threatened in these years by a work that is revealed to be inadequate in the function for which it was created. This is not the last of the distressing business that still legally run through the whole MoSE affair, which has sucked up economic and professional resources, so far wasted.

-Source: La Voce di Venezia, Nov. 4, 2016

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