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Hydrodynamic models of the sea tides in the Venice lagoon


Project: Implementation of hydrodynamic models, calibrations and applications

Location: Venice Lagoon, Italy

Client: Venezia Nuova Consortium for the Ministry of Public Works – Water Board, Venice

Cost of total Works: € 628,500

Services: Hydrodynamic and environmental models

Period: 09/2001 – 09/2004

Technital was commissioned by the “Magistrato alle Acque di Venezia”, the Water Board responsible for the lagoon of Venice, for the set-up and calibration of a hydrodynamic model to be applied in forecasting the tidal events to protect Venice from the risk of flooding. To achieve this goal, a number of schematizations had to be developed and the model had to be calibrated in the best possible way. The mathematical model chosen to develop the new hydrodynamic model of Venice lagoon was Delft 3-D Flow, the hydrodynamic module of a suite of models developed by Deltares-Delft Hydraulics Laboratory (The Netherlands). This new model uses a curvilinear grid with a finite differences schematization that can be easily connected to water quality and morphological modules to provide a hydrodynamic base for environmental analysis. In order to implement the model, the Venice lagoon was schematized in three configurations:

  • Basic Configuration - the lagoon itself and rivers discharging into it - the extent of the model is limited to the lagoon, with open boundaries at the entrances of the lagoon and the part of the rivers entering the lagoon which are influenced by the tides
  • Complete System – the lagoon itself, rivers discharging into it and part of the Adriatic Sea– the domain of the model is extended to include a part of the Adriatic Sea covering a coastal stretch of approximately 40 km long-shore and 15 km cross-shore
  • Venice city – a detailed model of the canals of the Venice, where the domain is extended sufficiently far away from the city to include areas of exchanges between the city itself and the lagoon. This model is connected to the general model of the lagoon using the domain decomposition techniques

Further specific information

The model is able not only to reproduce water levels at various tide-gauges, but also to represent the flow distribution and velocity field in the main hydraulic nodes in the lagoon. For this purpose, the model was calibrated both on water levels and fluxes. The application of a finite differences hydrodynamic model working on a curvilinear grid allowed the creation of a computational tool to be used as base for the development of future models of Venice lagoon.
The hydrodynamic model base was used to implement other important simulation models for the Venice Lagoon environment, such as an ecological model, a morphological model, and model for the study and simulation of the dispersion dynamics of oil derived compounds used for the analyses related with the petro-chemical activities in Porto Marghera, near Venice.