This handbook wants to raise awareness of the hydraulic risks in the Province of Venice by laying the groundwork for preventing and mitigating the effects of extreme weather events.
It explores the importance of ditch network maintenance, providing operational advice to citizens and guidelines for municipalities for proper ditch maintenance and flood prevention.

Objectives and beneficiaries

Cities and Municipalities.

Strong points of the practice

Respect for and maintenance of the ditches are essential because they involve a number of intervention issues that are often overlooked by both citizens and regulatory norms. At the same time, beyond the aspect of water safety, the private ditches are an important environmental and landscape factor, for the development of many animal and vegetable species that live in and around the ditches. The presence of belts of vegetation, trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants along the edges of ditches are important linear ecosystems linked into a network. They are home to an important heritage of biodiversity, improve microclimatic factors, absorb the phytonutrients derived from agricultural activities by limiting their runoff into the water system and ultimately contribute to maintaining and improving the agricultural landscape typical of the Venetian plain.

Expected results and benefits for climate change adaptation and mitigation

This volume contains a number of requirements and suggestions aimed at maintaining the functionality of the drainage network, to be guaranteed by the systematic cutting back of vegetation, the removal of any fill material and the regulation of the sewage system and of crop cultivation adjacent to the ditches, which must maintain a minimum distance from the edge of the gutter, varying in accordance with the size and importance of the channel itself. The Regulations, in the form of guidelines for Municipalities, has essentially the task of providing comprehensive information to landowners, who are also responsible for the surrounding ditches and for ensuring their efficiency. The capacity to absorb large volumes of floodwaters has been essential for the agricultural drainage network, especially in the last decade of climate change with frequent short but intense rainfall and consequent flooding due to the neglect of ditches and secondary channels, whose banks are all too often clogged by artificial adjuncts, sewage systems and reckless landfill.

Replicability potential of the practice