Venice flood defences deploy for first time

Venice deployed its much-vaunted but long-delayed flood barriers for the first time on Saturday as forecasters warned that storms could combine with high tides to inundate the city, Reuters reports.

The network of 78 bright yellow barriers that guard the entrance to the delicate Venetian lagoon has so far cost upwards of €7 billion, and has long been mired in cost issues, delays, corruption scandals, and criticism.

It started to lift from the sea bed more than three hours before the high tide was scheduled to peak.

Venice Flood

The tide, driven by strong winds and heavy rains, was expected to touch 130 cm (4.27 ft), well below the devastating the 187 cm tide that battered Venice last November but enough to leave low-lying areas deep under water.

The whole region of Veneto is now on alert for heavy rain and high winds, along with many other parts of northern Italy.

Venice’s floods, “acqua alta” (high water) in Italian, are caused by a combination of factors exacerbated by climate change - from rising sea levels and unusually high tides to land subsidence that has caused the ground level of the city to sink.

Main image: By Magistrato alle Acque di Venezia - Consorzio Venezia Nuova -, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Image: (St Mark's Square): Photo was taken by Wolfgang Moroder. Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

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