MoSE barriers at Malamocco are raised late. Engineer D’Alpaos sounds the alarm: “It is not time to experiment”

The professor: “Verify the effects of the maneuver before experimenting. The central lagoon is at risk of disappearing”

By Alberto Vitucci

4 November 2021

VENEZIA “Again there was experimentation at Malamocco. That part of the MoSE barrier closed later than those at Lido and Chioggia. But the scientific world wants to know: have they first observed the consequences of what is happening? Has there been a serious effort to monitor the effects of this maneuver on the lagoon morphology and on the seabed? If they go on like this the already compromised basin of the central lagoon will be destroyed.”

Professor Luigi D’Alpaos, a hydraulics engineer at University of Padova, among the leading experts of lagoon hydrodynamics, returns to sound the alarm regarding the “experimentation” of recent days. On Tuesday evening the MoSE dams at Malamocco were raised almost three hours after those at Lido. This is a maneuver – D’Alpaos also said this last winter – that can cause serious damage to the equilibrium of the lagoon. The velocity of the water is increased and the currents are modified, leading to increased erosion.

“We have the scientific proof that damage is done this way, and we would like to know what the MoSE decision makers are thinking. No one has the right of life and death over the lagoon. We have the obligation to preserve it and evaluate the consequences before making decisions.”

This is the principle that inspired the Serenissima Repubblica, about which on the subject of the waters the professor is one of the leading experts. For years he has sounded the alarm about excavating canals in the lagoon and the erosion phenomena caused by cruise ships. In October of last year he denounced the practice invented from the MoSE operations room – commissioner Spitz, technical director Francesco Ossola and the Superintendent of Public Works – that on October 3 also experimented with the partial closure of the Malamocco gates. “An opening of one hundred meters was left to allow ships to pass,” recalls the engineer, “but it would have been dangerous. In fact, the ship pilots were opposed to it.”

In the following days D’Alpaos launched a study to verify what took place at the section of the lagoon behind the MoSE dams when they were partially opened or not synchronized. “The water enters at a speed of 4-5 meters per second”, he said, “and the erosion effect is multiplied. Particular attention must be maintained on observing what happens precisely at Malamoco, where the currents are already notable, close to Molo delle Ceppe, the greatest depth of the lagoon at over 50 meters.”

More generally, D’Alpaos calls attention to the need of launching a continuous and in-depth program to monitor the effects of the opening. “They should have also done this during the building of MoSE to verify the changes to the ecosystem and the lagoon hydrodynamics. Show us the data from the studies,” he says, “then we can experiment.”

-Source: La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre

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