Millennial History

By Steve Jackson

Going, Going Gondola!

   It was less than ten years ago that the tourist destination of Venice, Italy was in danger of being totally submerged by the rising waters of the Adriatic Sea. Residents feared that they would have to permanently abandon their native city and move inland Tourists were bemoaning the romantic Gondola rides they would never have a chance to experience. No pun intended, but boy how the tide has turned!

     Now for a completely contrary reason, Venice tourists may have to scrap their plans for romantic gondola rides—as the Famed City of Water is in for a dry spell. There’s no flow in the canals of Venice, as a long-term drought has left the northern part of Italy down 60% of its water supply. The iconic boats have been left stranded after a winter of little rain and snow resulted in unusually low water levels in the canal city.( I live on a canal that was dug out in the fashion of the Venice canals and though we too have little water in them at certain times of the year and under certain conditions the loss of water is temporary and is usually normalized in a couple of tide cycles) 

    Concerns also have mounted that Italy could be in for another drought after last summer’s emergency according to local sources, which cited scientists and environmental groups.Gondolas and water buses known as vaporettos have been left high and dry as a result. Video posted by Local Team shows boats stranded on dried up canals in the city where flooding is normally the concern. The Legambiente environmental group said rivers across Italy have been affected by a severe lack of water—including the Po River, the longest in the country, which has 61% less water than normal this time of year, Reuters News reported.”We are in a water-deficit situation that has been building up since the winter of 2020,” climate expert Massimiliano Pasqui, from the Italian National Research Council, told the local newspaper, the daily Corriere della Sera. Fifty days of rain producing 20 inches of water is required to put an end to the drought. There is a possibility of extended rain in April and May. If this does not occur there will be water worries for Venice and the rest of Northern Italy. Italy has never had two consecutive spring seasons with no water infused in its waterways.

    Alessandro Bratti, president of the Po basin authority, said the situation was the most serious in Italy’s Piedmont and Lombardy regions, while in Trentino it was affecting the production of hydroelectric power.” If you have no water, you can not produce energy, so this is another problem,” said Bratti.” It is very critical because it hasn’t snowed or rained during this period, and the forecast says it will stay this way.”

     Let’s all do our best rain dance for Italy and keep replaying Eric Clapton’s iconic anthem “Let it Rain.”



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