New funds for Venice’s mobile dams
Despite the Italian government’s recent €48 billion deficit reduction plan, new funding of €630 million has been agreed for Venice’s mobile dam project. This tranche of €630 million will be provided by 31 December 2011 and will need to be followed by successive tranches of €470 million in 2012 and €450 million in 2013 to finish the dam project. The construction of the dams is currently 63% completed and it is forecast that in 2013 the first dams will be placed under the water with completion predicted for 2014.
The decision to provide the new finance of €630 million was taken during a meeting of the Comitatone (Big Committee) on 21 July 2011. This committee includes representatives of central government and representatives of local government, including the Mayor of Venice. Convening the Comitatone represents a return to governing the financing of Venice with the inclusion of local government after the funding of the mobile dams was organised directly by central government through its ‘Objective Law’ (also referred to as the Strategic Objectives).
Indeed, this meeting also agreed new funding for Venice City Council (€40.3 million) and approximately €10 million for the Venetian areas of Chioggia and Cavallino. The Mayor of Venice, Giorgio Orsoni, announced €10 million per year over the next three years to complete an anti-fire water system that is essential for the safeguarding of monuments in Venice following the Comitatone funding. This will provide an important boost to maintenance work after almost 3 years of a virtual halt on central government funding of maintenance work in the city through the Special Laws for Venice.
Finally, the Comitatone made the important decision to back the construction of a platform near the Malamocco port mouth to support the logistical transfer of goods between the sea and Venice (especially the Marghera industrial areas) when the mobile dams are in operation.
Further information about the mobile dam project can be found at the website of the Consortium constructing the project here: MOSE System
Analysis and interviews with Venetian environmentalists about the dam project are included in the book ‘Venice in Environmental Peril? Myth and Reality’, by Dominic Standish, published by UPA in the USA in January 2012.
A personal note from Dominic Standish: apologies that this news is one week late, which was due to my attendance at a conference in the UK over the last week.