EXHIBITS: Saving a Sinking City

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Science  19 Jul 2002:
Vol. 297, Issue 5580, pp. 307
DOI: 10.1126/science.297.5580.307e

A combination of land subsidence and rising sea levels means that Venice, Italy, is 23 centimeters lower than a century ago, and high tides can turn streets into temporary waterways. But Venice isn't about to go under. This site from the Venice Water Authority describes efforts to protect the low- lying city and restore the surrounding environment.

The impetus for the massive project came from a giant flood in 1966, when tides surged nearly 2 meters above normal. The solutions profiled here include commonsense measures such as raising the level of waterside walkways and quays, as well as high-tech ventures, such as installing inflatable floodgates that would rise from the sea floor in case of high water. Plans also include rebuilding or enlarging beaches to absorb the force of storms and restoring salt marshes to prevent sediment from choking the city's famous canals.


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