The frequency of acqua alta has become more troubling, experts say, and is linked to rising seawater levels, not only in Venice, but also around the world.
Sea levels are rising “at a faster rate” than experts had expected, and that is having a greater impact on the lagoon city, Mr. Bonometto said.
There is also the added fact that Venice is sinking.
Luigi Cavaleri, an engineer at the Institute of Marine Sciences in Venice said the city’s subsidence and the rising sea levels meant that Venice was sinking at a rate of one-fifth of an inch a year. That means that the city will be submerged by water more frequently.
Mr. Cavaleri said last year’s storm was a much more serious event, but noted, “Floods will continue.”
Had the flood system been operational, he said, “the city might have been spared. Hopefully, it will be for the next flood.”
Antonio Gesualdi, a spokesman for the Consorzio Venezia Nuova, which has overseen the development and the construction the flood barriers, said that tests were being carried out, and that next year, tests would be carried out for acqua alta.
Mr. Brugnaro, the mayor, said that had the MOSE project been finished, it could have averted the disaster. But he noted that the flood barriers were just one element of a much more articulated system required to fight rising sea waters. And other elements necessary for the health of the lagoon — such as for the navigability of the canal — were still incomplete.
“We need resources and clear ideas,” he said. “For now, MOSE is a ghost. We want to see it finished.”