Venice's €7 billion Mose flood barrier system got its first real-life use over the weekend as it was activated to prevent flooding of the city by stormy weather and high tides. The system was tested in July, but has never before been used in live conditions.
The barrier faced down an expected tidal rise of 130 cm and held it to the planned 70 cm, enough to leave streets wet but not flooded.
“Today, everything is dry. We stopped the sea,” city mayor Luigi Brugnaro told reporters after raising a glass in celebration with some of the engineers and officials responsible for the project. “Lots of bad things have happened here, but now something wonderful has happened,” he said.
The system consists of a series of submerged barriers at the entrances of the Venetian lagoon; when activated they swing up out of the water and acta as a barrier to incoming tides from the Adriatic, hopefully preventing the 'acqua alta' flooding that frequently washes through Venice.
The system has been under construction since 2003, and has missed multiple completion dates since 2016, and has been surrounded with allegations of corruption and doubts whether it will work. Now we know...