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'The uplift of Venice' April 21

April 16, 2010

In this interdisciplinary water resources seminar, Domenico Bau, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at CSU, will discuss his study of how seawater might be injected into aquifers deep under Venice, Italy, to produce land uplift that would address the tide peaks that threaten the city.

Wednesday, April 21
Noon-1 p.m.
Lory Student Center
Room 210

Colorado State University's Colorado Water Institute is hosting a Spring Interdisciplinary Water Resources Seminar on Wednesday, April 21 at noon in the Lory Student Center, Room 210.

Mitigating Venice's acqua alta

The speaker, Domenico Bau is an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at CSU.  He'll discuss his research and pilot project that involved modeling the recharge of seawater into six aquifers under the city of Venice, Italy.

In recent years, several geo-mechanical modeling studies have suggested that seawater injection into deep formations underneath the city of Venice, Italy, may produce a land uplift sufficient to mitigate the effects of the acqua alta, that is, the exceptional tide peaks that periodically occur in the northern Adriatic Sea. 

Addressing uneven ground surface

However, a major concern associated with subsurface water injection is the differential vertical displacement at the ground surface, which must not exceed prescribed regulatory thresholds to guarantee structural preservation of the city historical buildings.

Map of the Venice Lagoon with the potential location of injection wells.

This study focuses on the hydraulic conductivity, K, – often one of the most difficult hydrogeological parameters to characterize – and the effects that spatially heterogeneous K distributions may have on the uniformity of the induced land uplift.

This analysis stems from a series of stochastic geo-mechanical simulations performed using an uncoupled 3D finite-element poro-elastic model and refers to a pilot project devised to address the feasibility and sustainability of an actual full-scale injection program.

Pilot project

The pilot project considers the recharge of about 3,100 m3/day seawater over three years from three injection wells installed into six aquifers comprised between depths of 600 and 800 meters. The stochastic geo-mechanical simulations are structured into a sensitivity analysis in order to investigate the impact of the geostatistical parameters characterizing the hydraulic conductivity field on the spatial distributions of the ground surface uplift and its horizontal gradient.

The results of this study indicate that, irrespective of K heterogeneity, the predicted uplift is substantially regular with negligible differential displacements.

About the speaker

Domenico Baú, Ph.D., is assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Colorado State University. He holds a B.S.-M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Padua, Italy, and a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University.

Domenico Baú is one of the coordinators of the Environmental Hydrogeology Graduate Program in the CSU Civil Engineering Department. He currently teaches classes on groundwater engineering, groundwater hydrology, and conjunctive use of surface and groundwater resources, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Contact: Reagan Waskom
Phone: (970) 491-6308