Venice is a unique city known all over the world, listed as one of the UNESCO heritage sites since 1987. Situated on the extremity of a closed-off part of the Adriatic Sea, part of the Mediterranean Sea, the lagoon is frequently subjected to the encumbrance of fluctuations in water levels where high water periodically floods the piazzas, and low water that can obstruct navigation due to shallower canals.


The protection of Venice from high water levels is a top priority. In that respect, the Italian Government initiated the MOSE (Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, Experimental Electromechanical Module) project to protect the city from flooding. The construction is made up of a complex system of 78 submerged gates which can be raised to separate the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea, in case of high water levels. ‘High-water events’ are defined as a water level higher than 110 cm in Venice city and 130 cm in Chioggia both with reference to local datum. Sea-level forecasting is a fundamental task for properly operating the gates and safeguarding the ancient city.


To support the operations at the MOSE gates, a complex Decision Support System has been set up by “Provveditorato Interregionale per le Opere Pubbliche” through “Consorzio Venezia Nuova”, based on MIKE Powered by DHI’s MIKE OPERATIONS. The system is mainly composed of:

  • specific procedures for multiple data collection, processing and storing
  • a wide range of numerical models based on MIKE Powered by DHI technology incorporating machine learning
  • a dedicated decision support system based on complex algorithms capable to forecast high water levels events and continuously update the data, defining the correct timing for closing as opening the gates;
  • a wide range of tools for data as warning dissemination, including a specific web interface; and
  • an expert graphical user interface for the configuration of an advance management of the system


Accurate forecasts of high water levels events

Decision support for operating the MOSE gates

Automatic dissemination of information and warnings

‘The MIKE-based decision support system provides a reliable support for our daily work at the MOSE control room.’

Ing. Stefano Libardo, MOSE Operations Room Manager
Consorzio Venezia Nuova

The full story


Operations of the mobile barriers is based on real-time monitoring of the water levels at the three inlets of the Venice Lagoon (Malamocco, Chioggia and Lido). Moving the barriers requires accurate analysis and forecasts of the effects – with reference to water levels and in terms of impact on navigation. Specific warning procedures have been tested in a prototype phase to define different warning conditions and the consequent actions to be taken at the control room.

Accurate forecasts are needed for the advance knowledge of:

  • the increase in water levels
  • the duration of expected surge events
  • inflows in the lagoon from the onshore rivers and channels
  • incoming waves; and
  • potential problems in terms of water circulation and quality

In order to reduce the uncertainty resulting from meteorological forecasts, different meteo models are to be used as forcings to a wide range of hydraulic models, based on a statistical and physically approach, as well as machine learning technologies. An additional requirement is the full reliability and robustness of the system which should be able to operate 24/7 without failure.

To support the operations at the MOSE gates, a complex Decision Support System has been set up based on MIKE Powered by DHI’s MIKE OPERATIONS. © Ministero delle Infrastrutture e dei Trasporti - Provveditorato Interregionale per le Opere Pubbliche del Veneto - Trentino Alto Adige - Friuli Venezia Giulia" già Magistrato alle Acque di Venezia - tramite il Consorzio Venezia Nuova


The MIKE OPERATIONS platform collects and processes all data from external sources including meteorological models and sensors in the Mediterranean and Adriatic Sea.

A wide range of complex validation procedures allow data to be processed and stored in a database to be used as input to numerical models.

MIKE models, simulating water levels, currents, waves and water quality dynamics are automatically prepared by the MIKE OPERATIONS platform, based on observation data and meteorological forecasts according to a multi-model approach.

Marine dynamics are reproduced in a forecasting mode, starting from the entire Mediterranean Sea down to the Adriatic and the Venice Lagoon by increasing the spatial resolution. By using different models as different forcings, it is possible to produce forecasts using a statistical approach to handle uncertainties resulting from meteorological models.

Recovery procedures are in place to handle delay in the absence of input data, ensuring the continuity of the forecasting system.

The computerised decision-support system allows decisions to be taken on barrier closing and opening manoeuvres, and therefore on when and for how long the MOSE gates will be in operation.

As decision on the closure is taken several hours in advance based on the predicted water level at peak surge, producing reliable forecasts is extremely important to reduce false alarms, erroneous closures or missed closures in case of underestimated water levels. A decision-making support system uses high water forecasts, measured data on tide levels and the increase in water level in the lagoon while the inlets are closed.


MIKE Powered by DHI technology provides a reliable support in preserving Venice from surge events in terms of:

  • accurate forecasts of water levels

  • defining warning and alert conditions for the control room

  • supporting definition of barriers operations

  • evaluating impacts on the entire lagoon system

  • disseminating information to authorities and citizens

About the client

Consorzio Venezia Nuova is the concessionaire of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport for the implementation of measures to safeguard Venice and its lagoon. For more info, visit

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