Venice’s canals dry up as an incessant weather regime causes tides, and a lack of snow in the Alps fuels fears about Italy’s summer.

Rome Venice has long been known for its perpetual flooding, but now it faces the opposite problem: the old city has been left with low waters and dry channels due to a long stretch of low tides, making many famous waterways unnavigable for the famous gondolas and gondolas. Other boats fill its waterways.

While Venice’s water woes are being blamed on a weeks-long high-pressure weather system over western Europe, they come as environmental groups warn that the Alps have received less than half of their usual snowfall this winter, sparking alarms. Fears that Italy will face another summer. of dry rivers.

Pictures from Lake City show some of the canals reduced to muddy potholes, with stunned onlookers sitting atop bridges.

A dry channel seen at low tide in Venice, Italy, February 16, 2023.

Alessandro Bremic/NurPhoto/Getty


Italian environmental association Legambiente sounded the alarm earlier this week, warning that the Italian Alps are currently packing 53% less snow than the average over the past 10 years. This is worrisome, because snow is an important source of water in the spring and summer, when it melts and flows downstream to help ensure water supplies in the months when it’s needed most.

Alpine snow is the most important water reserve in Italy. Meltwater supplies the basin of the Po River, which runs through the most populous region in Italy as well as the most agriculturally productive.


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Legambiante added that the Po, Italy’s longest river, runs from the Alps in the northwest to the Adriatic Sea, but currently contains 61% less water than normal at this time of year.

Nationally, the snow deficit is about 45%, according to the group.

Last July, Italy It suffered the worst drought in 70 years A state of emergency was declared for the areas around Bo.


Italy is facing a historic drought

For more than two weeks, an anti-cyclone weather system across western Europe has brought milder temperatures in late spring compared to mid-February.

Venice is known for its regular floods, called “acqua alta”, or high waters, caused by the high and low tides.

Severe flooding can submerge businesses, homes, and ground-floor driveways, making it impossible to walk through the city’s alleyways. Flooding can make the water levels too high for boats to pass under the bridges.

But the same changes in tides could also produce “acqua basa,” or low waters, as they do now. Environmentalists warn that climate change has exacerbated the incidence of high and low water.

A severe drop in water can also cause serious damage. The city is supported by millions of towers made of wood and brick, which, as long as they remain covered in water, are protected from the corrosive force of oxygen.

Extreme low water events remove that protection and can lead to serious structural damage.

Some much-needed rain is expected over the next week in Venice and the surrounding area.

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