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  • 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-dayit certainly makes things more complicated.

  • It's already a complicated city to live inyou 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, buseseverything, 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 waterthey best thing they can do is wait.

  • And, fortunately, there is some precipitation expected over the next dayin fact, for the following week.

  • There is high precipitation expectedthat's desperately needed.

  • And, also, the tides are expected to shift and bring that waterdesperatelyback 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.

All right, the famous canals in Venice, Italy, they've been flooding previously, and now, they appear to be drying up.

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