Venice floodgates in action

This item appears on page 5 of the November 2020 issue.

Flood-prevention gates in Venice, Italy, were used for the first time to prevent flooding on Oct. 3. After all 78 gates were raised, the tide reached over 4 feet outside of the lagoon in which the city is located, but within the city, which floods when the tide reaches at least 3 feet, the water remained below street level.

The gates, which were first test-operated on July 10, are located at three inlets to the Venice lagoon, where it meets the Adriatic Sea. The system was designed in the 1980s, but cost increases and corruption delayed any construction until 2003. Despite the success, the system is still in the testing phase and is not expected to be fully operational for another year.