The “Channelling the Green Deal for Venice” project seeks to address the problem of limited nautical accessibility to the ports of Venice and Chioggia.
The €1.7 million project, conceived and developed by the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority – Ports of Venice and Chioggia, is co-financed by Connecting Europe Facility (CEF). It was recently presented to members of the European Parliament and EU officials in Brussels, at the headquarters of the Veneto Region.
“The sustainable development of the port system in the Veneto area is already possible; scientific research and technology allow to identify the necessary balance between the development of the ports of Venice and Chioggia and the delicate lagoon environment,” said Fulvio Lino Di Blasio, president of the North Adriatic Sea Port Authority.
Under the auspices of the project, the port authority has coordinated a working group, counting on some of the best national and European organisations in the field of scientific research.
Collectively they have identified the solutions necessary to revitalise and rewild the central lagoon and at the same time cut down maintenance of the Malamocco-Marghera canal - including topping the dispersion of sediments and protecting the sandbanks.
It’s easy to see how this project fits in with the wider aim to keep Venice commercially viable as a port and tourist destination all year round, especially as it follows the construction of the Mose flood barrier system in 2020, which was spurred on by the need to defend the lagoon territory from increasingly frequent high water levels.
Mose is part of a general plan of interventions to safeguard Venice and the lagoon. The project was begun in 1987 by the Ministry of Infrastructure through the Venice Water Authority.
On 3 October 2020, the barriers were activated for the first time in the occurrence of a high tide event, preventing some of the low-lying parts of the city from being flooded. Since then, Mose has been activated at least 49 times.
The gates work by isolating the lagoon from the sea and are designed to attenuate the levels of the most frequent tides and the rise of the banks and pavements, by up to +110 cm.
They create an extremely functional defence system that guarantees the quality of the water, protection of the landscape and maintenance of port activity.
There are four defence barriers; two at the inlet of Lido (made up of 20 and 21 sluice gates), which are are connected to each other by an intermediate island. There’s also one barrier at the port mouth of Malamocco and one barrier at the port mouth of Chioggia.
At the port mouths of Lido and Chioggia, small navigation basins allow the admission and transit of pleasure boats, rescue vehicles and fishing boats, even with the sluice gates in operation. At the mouth of Malamocco a navigation basin was built for the transit of ships to guarantee the operation of the port even with the sluice gates in operation.
When they are inactive, the floodgates are full of water and lie completely invisible in housings placed in the backdrop. In the event of a particularly high tide, compressed air is introduced into the sluices, which empties out the water.
As the water exits the sluice gates, they rise up to emerge and block the flow of the incoming tide in the lagoon. The sluice gates remain in use only for the duration of the high water event. When the tide falls, and the same water level is reached in the lagoon and the sea, the sluice gates return to their housings.
In parallel with the construction of Mose, the Venice Water Authority and Venice Local Authority have been raising quaysides and paving in the city to protect built-up areas in the lagoon from medium high tides (below 110 centimetres, the height at which the mobile barriers come into operation).