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. Venice plans to raise its sinking buildings as sea levels rise

Venice has become increasingly vulnerable over time, suffering more than 50 significant floods between 1993 and 2002 and sinking about 23 centimeters over the course of the 20th century.
by Staff Writers
Venice, Italy (AFP) March 21, 2008
Venice is planning to raise its buildings to protect them against rising sea levels, daily Italian newspaper La Stampa said on Friday.

Local officials and engineers are planning to lift buildings under operation "Rialto" by up to one metre (3.3 feet) using piston-supported-poles to be placed at the bottom of each structure. This will take around a month per building if each structure is raised by eight centimetres (3.14 inches) a day.

The mayor of Venice, Massimo Cacciari, said: "We're pursuing this proposal with great interest."

This project is an alternative to a previous one nicknamed "Moses", which began in 2003 and is due to end in 2012. "Moses" is expected to cost around four billion euros (six billion dollars) under huge plans to build 78 mobile barriers at a stretch of two kilometres (1.2 miles) by the lagoon's entrance.

Those in favour of "Rialto" claim the project, with an estimated cost of 2,500 euros (3,800 dollars) per square metre, will allow Venice, which sank by 23 centimetres (nine inches) in the last century, to regain its original look and to preserve its buildings.

Venice was flooded 50 times between 1993 and 2002. The worst recorded high waters were in November 1966 when the city was submerged by 1.94 metres (6.3 feet) of water, as the rest of Italy was also battling heavy floods.

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