Venice, 13th November 2019
At 187 cm (just over 6ft), recorded at 10.55pm, last night’s acqua alta was the most serious ‘exceptional’ high tide since the historic one of November 4th 1966, but in a number of respects it was also different from previous ones, in particular for the speed and violence with which it rushed into our homes, our shops, our warehouses.
The city’s advance warning system, signalling 140cm (4 ft 7 inches), proved inadequate to the task, while the artificial island of the Mose no doubt played its part in contributing to the speed with which the mass of water, forced into two narrower inlets at the Lido, entered the Lagoon: the change in the currents caused by the works in progress can in any case be readily seen by anyone who gets around by boat.
The Mose flood barrier, a project still unfinished after 16 years, has cost the Italian taxpayer 6 billion euros and instead of solving the problem for which it was conceived, seems if anything to aggravate it.
Global climate change experts predict that we will have to get used to more of these high waters and that the term “exceptional” will come to lose its meaning.
We are already carrying out a census of the damage and inconvenience suffered yesterday. Ours is not a Venice of myth and hearsay and we don’t use Venice as a showcase for tourism: we fight on its behalf because we live here, in the 6 sestieri of the city and in the other islands which we generally hear too little about.
To the next petty career politician or candidate for mayor who asks us to “keep our feet on the ground” we will reply with videos and photos from last night.
“Staying with your feet on the ground” is a luxury that is denied to us, by ongoing climate change and cynical human decisions, dictated by greed and corruption. Venice needs courageous choices, passion opposed to commercial opportunism – and that is the opposite of what we have seen at work over the last two decades.
standing for the rights of the 80,000 people who still live in the Venice Lagoon, since 2014 (year of the “Mose scandal”)