Unusually poor tide causes record low levels in Venice's canal network

Visitors to Venice are being surprised by the lack of water in the city which has left many of the world-famous gondolas beached on the muddy canal beds.

This is the second year in a row where the city has seen historically low tidal levels.
Instead of water, tourists are being confronted by lines of mud snaking through the city.

Gondolas were left high and dry in the Venetian lagoon in the Riva del Vin area, in Venice. Photo / AP
Gondolas were left high and dry in the Venetian lagoon in the Riva del Vin area, in Venice. Photo / AP

Last year, water levels were reported as 70 centimetres below normal levels, curtailing transport by gondola or water taxi for much of the day.

However, the city also regularly faces flooding several times a year.

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Also, while tourism numbers in the city are increasing, the size of the lagoon city's population continues to dwindle.

Gondolas sit on the muddy sea bed of the Venetian lagoon in the Riva del Vin area, in Venice. Photo / AP
Gondolas sit on the muddy sea bed of the Venetian lagoon in the Riva del Vin area, in Venice. Photo / AP

Since 1951, Venice's population has steadily shrunk from 175,000 to some 55,000.

Several factors are blamed, including high prices driven by a boom in tourism, the logistics of supplying a carless city, and the erosion of canal-side apartment buildings by lapping waters.

Basements and ground floors in much of Venice are frequently flooded when the 'acqua alta' (high water) phenomenon occurs, forcing residents and visitors alike to don high rubber boots and use raised walkways.

Unusually low tides caused a record low water that is causing problems to the water traffic. Photo / AP
Unusually low tides caused a record low water that is causing problems to the water traffic. Photo / AP

The Italian city's daytime population swells during the day, when many Venetians who now live on the mainland commute to the historic center for jobs, many of them in hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops serving tourists.

When huge cruise ships disembark their passengers for day trips in Venice, boosting the city's tourist numbers, Venetian natives seem even scarcer.

- Originally published by Daily Mail UK