The MOSE Project (acronym for Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico — in English, Experimental Electromechanical Module) is a project intended to protect the city of Venice, Italy from floods. Is an integrated defence system consisting of rows of mobile gates able to isolate the Venetian Lagoon from the Adriatic Sea when the tide reaches above an established level (110 cm) and up to a maximum of 3 m. Together with other complementary measures such as coastal reinforcement, the raising of quaysides and paving and improvement of the lagoon environment, these barriers will protect the city of Venice from extreme events such as the floods and from morphological degradation. Work on the project has been underway since 2003 at the three lagoon inlets of Lido, Malamocco and Chioggia, the gaps connecting the lagoon with the sea and through which the tide ebbs and flows. The name MOSE is also a play on the Italian name for Moses, Mosè.
In 2006, the incoming government of Romano Prodi announced that the project was "under review" for budgetary reasons. However, the project was reinstated the following year.
MOSE does not exist in isolation. It is part of a General Plan of Interventions to safeguard Venice and the lagoon commenced in 1987 by the Ministry of Infrastructure through the Venice Water Authority (the Ministry's operational arm in the lagoon) and the concessionary, the Consorzio Venezia Nuova. The measures already completed or underway along the coastline and in the lagoon are the most important environmental defence, restoration and improvement programme ever implemented by the Italian State.
In parallel with work to construct MOSE, the Venice Water Authority and the Venice Local Authority are raising quaysides and paving in the city to protect built-
The measures to improve the lagoon environment are aimed at slowing down degradation of the morphological structures caused by subsidence, eustatism and erosion resulting from wave motion and wash. Work is being carried out throughout the lagoon basin to protect, reconstruct and renaturalise salt marshes, mudflats and shallows, restore the environment of the smaller islands and dredge lagoon canals and channels.
Important activities are also underway in the industrial area of Porto Marghera at the edge of the central lagoon to oppose pollution by securing islands formerly used as dumps, consolidating and sealing the industrial canals and removing polluted sediments.
Diagram showing the operation of the MOSE.
3: compressed air
4: water expelled