19 January 2017

Record low water levels in Venice

As Venice works on the €5.4 billion 'Mose' floodgate to counteract the eventual effects of rising sea levels, they face an interim problem of record low water levels.
The exceptionally water levels have been caused by abnormal tides this year, combined with drastically reduced winter precipitation rates across northeastern Italy... The drop in water levels has prevented some of the city's gondolas and vaporetti, or water buses, from navigating in some of the smaller canals. On Christmas Eve, the low tide even grounded the mayor's speedboat.
The low water is exposing the city's less attractive underside: garbage and crumbling infrastructure.  And I'll bet it's fragrant:
Historically, all waste produced by humans have been dumped into the canals although larger buildings are required to carry some kind of sewage treatment before dumping the filthy stuff into the canals. Some palazzos have their own septic tanks but there is always a certain amount of leakage, lending Venice its characteristic and at times overpowering stench.
The scavenger in me, however, imagines the excellent opportunity for mudlarking.

Think of the generations of artifacts that have been lost into the canals, the wedding rings tossed away, the rings and brooches.  But it looks like mostly forks.

Related: Mudlarking and Love tokens retrieved from the mud of the Thames.


  1. I was instantly reminded of the kid in this video below. I'm sure you've done something related before, but he does good work, finds stuff and tries to return them to the owner/ authorities if needed and even does some clean up work along the way! Be careful though, as watching this potentially leads to a suggestions induced dumpster diving rabbit hole!


    1. I totally love treasure-hunting stories/videos etc. Much more satisfying in my eyes to find $3 than to earn $10 in the same time period.

      And nice to see that he takes the time to free turtles and fish from lines and lures.

    2. That was my thought as well! Plus you usually get a good story that will stick around much longer than the money itself.

      Also wanted to say thank you for the work you put in here. I stumbled across the blog years and years ago and have quietly lurked and checked back daily even during blogcations. Absolutely great work.

    3. Thanks for the kind words, Bill.


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