Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles All right, the famous canals in Venice, Italy, they've been flooding previously, and now, they appear to be drying up. City officials say water measured more than two feet below average on Sunday. The low levels are being blamed on dry weather and tidal changes. CBS News foreign correspondent Chris Livesay joins us now from Rome to discuss this. Chris, it seems like⏤ What was it, just a few months ago, we're talking about flooding in Venice getting worse; that's been happening over the past few years. So, how do you explain, now, the water, apparently, running dry, somewhat? Yeah, Errol, well, you know, flooding is absolutely the bigger problem, the more long-term problem. But it's sort of the same cause behind this low water that we're experiencing right now. And then, there's tidal changes. Tidal changes bring in that extreme water that Venetians call "acqua alta", and now, thanks to a lingering high-pressure system, you have what Venetians call "acqua bassa", the opposite of that low water. It's sucking that water out of Venetian canals, and it can actually be quite damaging, you know, because, so long as the water is there, it's protecting those building foundations, you know, wooden pylons. Remember, Venice is this enchanting place in the middle of a lagoon in the middle of the sea⏤ it... it really shouldn't be there. And, so, it had to be reinforced by pylons and brick foundations in order to have these buildings. I mean, so long the water is there, it kind of keeps everything in place. But as soon as it recedes, like we're seeing now, well, then, you can introduce corrosion. Because now, all of a sudden, oxygen can access those wooden pylons and those brick foundations. And, over time, it can lead to some severe structural damage. And⏤I'm looking at these images, and I have to think that there is going to be a major impact on Venice's economy, not just in terms of tourism, but also just day-to-day for Venetians. Yeah, absolutely, day-to-day⏤it certainly makes things more complicated. It's already a complicated city to live in⏤you can't drive a car, getting around can be a lot slower, you have to do things by foot or by boat. And now, as you can see, a lot of boats are grounded; they're sitting inside canals that have been transformed into these soggy, muddy pits. And, so, things like ambulances, buses⏤everything, you know, the post office can't deliver its mail, you know, ambulances can't save people as quickly as they might normally be able to. I know that, previously, the regional government had worked to respond to the flooding, making sure they can pump water out. I'm wondering how they plan to respond to this opposite issue and what they may suggest doing. Right, well, I mean, that's a multi-billion project you're referring to, known as MOSEs, like the biblical figure who literally parted the seas, and that's⏤this system of dykes that's outside of Venice, right where the lagoon meets the sea, they've been working on it for decades, and only in recent years have they finally been able to activate it. But, as you said, Errol, it's to prevent water from coming into the city. When they have the opposite problem, right now, of "acqua bassa"⏤low water⏤they best thing they can do is wait. And, fortunately, there is some precipitation expected over the next day⏤in fact, for the following week. There is high precipitation expected⏤that's desperately needed. And, also, the tides are expected to shift and bring that water⏤desperately⏤back into the city. But, I need to emphasize, you know, these extremes we're seeing between high tide and low tide⏤ environmental experts tend to agree that they've been exacerbated; this extreme between high and low has all been exacerbated by climate change. Wow, and it's just remarkable, looking at those images, those dried-up canals, which, you know, everyone wants to take pictures of and enjoy. But very serious for the locals and the economy there. Chris Livesay, thanks for joining us.