A general view of a dry canal for low tide on February 16, 2023, in Venice, Italy . Getty Images
by Sarah Do Couto for Global News – Weeks of dry winter weather and no rain have turned Venice’s iconic waterways into muddy pits; the water levels in some canals are so low that gondolas and other water-based vehicles like taxis and ambulances cannot travel.
A series of images coming out of the Italian city on Friday showed barely-there streams of water pooling around dozens of boats alongside the uncovered foundation of several buildings.
Though flooding is normally a primary concern in the “floating city,” environmental experts have pointed to a lack of rain, a lingering high-pressure weather system and low tide as reasons for the emptied canals.
Venice is not the only area in Italy that is running dry. The environmental group Legambiente said Italian lakes and rivers are “in distress” as a result of a drought in the country. They claim that the Alps saw 53 per cent less snow than is typically average for the mountain range. Simultaneously, the Po, Italy’s longest river, saw a water deficit of 61 per cent this year.STORY CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Last July, Italy declared a state of emergency for areas surrounding the Po — which accounts for roughly a third of the country’s agricultural production — and suffered its worst drought for 70 years.