Low Tides, Lack Of Rainfall Cause Venice’s Canals To Run Dry

Venice, Italy is experiencing some serious environmental problems as of late.

Weeks of dry winter weather have raised concerns that Italy could face another drought after last summer’s emergency, with the Alps having received less than half of their normal snowfall, according to scientists and environmental groups.

The warning comes as Venice, where flooding is normally the primary concern, faces unusually low tides that are making it impossible for gondolas, water taxis and ambulances to navigate some of its famous canals.

The problems in Venice are being blamed on a combination of factors — the lack of rain, a high pressure system, a full moon and sea currents.

Italian rivers and lakes are suffering from severe lack of water, the Legambiente environmental group said on Monday, with attention focused on the north of the country.

The Po, Italy’s longest river which runs from the Alps in the northwest to the Adriatic has 61% less water than normal at this time of year, it added in a statement.

Venice was constructed on an Adriatic Sea lagoon during the early Middle Ages, largely for natural defense against invading barbarians. What is fascinating is that Venice is supported by millions of tree trunks underneath the bayou and this is largely why Venetians frequently experience rising water levels that flood the city’s blocks and streets.

Last July, Italy even had to declare an emergency because of drought conditions for the Po and the surrounding areas. All of this sounds pretty serious, right? Not exactly.

This has happened before on numerous occasions and, despite western Europe experiencing mild temperatures for approximately the last 15 days including environmentalists saying climate change is the cause, Reuters reports an end is in sight. Weather forecasters are predicting that precipitation in the Italian Alps will soon return flowing water to the city’s medieval canals.

PHOTO CREDIT: The Po in San Mauro Torinese in July 2012. – By Alessandro Vecchi – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20338925