Inflatable Floodgates in Venice Named After Moses Save the City for a Second Time
Now used twice in a month, the MOSE flood defense system in Venice protects the historic city from flooding of up to 10 feet.
Venice, with its historic squares and buildings, quaint shops, and rows of old houses, was in grave danger last week when a 4.6-foot tide inched ever closer to its shores.
Such a tide would have flooded half the city, starting with the cultural treasure of St. Mark’s Square and its spectacular basilica, if not for the intervention of a controversial, long-delayed, but now operational inflatable flood defense system named after a certain biblical figure who famously helped move another source of pesky water.
Designed to stay at the bottom of the Venice lagoon until a flood is detected, “Mose,” an acronym that forms the Italian spelling of the man who parted the Red Sea, inflates to the surface, rapidly creating a yellow rubber wall, repelling the water, and protecting the city.
Operated from stations on the the Lido, Malamocco, and Chioggia inlets, it isolates the Venice lagoon from flooding, and has now been used twice in October alone, on the 3rd, and the 22nd as northern Italy has received a battering of rain.
Designed all the way back in 1984, and scheduled to come into operation in 2011, the Mose project has been hindered by corruption and cost overruns, forcing the architects behind it to reformat.