The MOSE mobile dams were raised five times last week to reduce high flooding in Venice. But work on the dams is still incomplete and two locks are not functioning, placing limits on shipping and affecting the lagoon.

It is great that the MOSE mobile dams in Venice were raised five times last week to reduce high flooding. This means the dams have been deployed 25 times since 3 October 2020 against flooding. While most of the talk at the ongoing COP26 conference on climate change is focusing on mitigating against climate warming, these dams are a good example of adapting to rising sea levels (plus subsidence).

Nevertheless, the two locks for the dam system are still not working so vessels cannot navigate between the lagoon and the sea when the dams are raised. Hence the Malamocco inlet dams were raised after the dams at other inlets so ships could pass through this inlet for longer. However, closing the Malamocco inlet after the two inlets at the Lido and Chioggia means the entry of water into the lagoon becomes uneven. Moreover, some claim this adds to the lagoon’s erosion as this causes an acceleration of water coming through the Malamocco inlet when it is the only open inlet and high winds are pushing more water into the lagoon.

Completing the locks would help address this problem. After six years of closure, work to fix the Malamacco lock has started while work on the Chioggia lock is being held up by a legal battle between the companies working on it:

It is time to complete these locks, fix the corrosion on many parts of the dam system and complete the project. It is now estimated to be finished sometime in 2023, twenty years after construction began and after over €5 billion has been spent on it.

For more information about the MOSE mobile dams, read the Introduction and Part Three of my book using this link plus the update posts in this thread:

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