Venice’s famous canals are drying up due to drought – NBC Boston

Some of Venice’s smaller canals have practically dried up from a prolonged period of low tide, frustrating boat crews and bewildering tourists.

Experts say the extended period of low and high tides is linked to an ongoing high-pressure weather system over much of Italy.

Since the canals essentially serve as streets in car-free Venice, the phenomenon of recent days has increased the challenges of daily life in the lagoon city. Ambulance boats have in some cases had to dock farther from their destination, sometimes requiring medical crews to carry stretchers by hand over long distances, as their ships cannot pass through canals reduced to a trickle of water and mud.

Boats are moored along a canal during low tide in Venice, Italy, Monday, February 20, 2023. Some of Venice’s secondary canals have practically dried up recently due to an extended period of low tide due to an ongoing high-pressure weather system.

For tourists, this meant that gondolas couldn’t navigate some of the secondary waterways that pass under Venice’s many picturesque bridges.

In midwinter, high atmospheric pressure combined with the lunar cycle causes the ultra-low water levels during low tide, noted Jane Da Mosto, an environmental scientist and sustainable development analyst with We Are Here Venice, an environmental advocacy group.

She added that the phenomenon points to a lack of attention to the overdue need to clean Venice’s inner canal network.

Navigation continued on the wider main waterways, including the Grand and Giudecca canals.

Separately, the same high-pressure system, exacerbated by sparse snowmelt in the Alps this year, has been a factor in the shrinking of lakes and rivers in northern Italy in recent weeks. This month, another isthmus has emerged connecting the shores of Lake Garda to a small island, much to the delight of visitors who could, in fact, walk part of the middle of the lake.

Perhaps you live in an area with a lot of water. You may get too much rain sometimes. But the West Coast drought isn’t just a West Coast problem. Here’s why you should care.

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