Friday, September 30, 2022

“We have 30 cm of water left”: a severe drought affecting the Rhine, one of Europe’s biggest rivers and on which the German economy depends

Manusia, Germany.- The Rhine, one of Europe’s major rivers and historically an important trade route, dries up. And that’s a big problem for the people and businesses that depend on it.

Captain Andre Kimpel watches the river empathically but anxiously and how The water level has dropped significantly in recent days Whereas in Europe there is a long and hot summer.

Many ferry services in and around Kaab, Germany have been forced to close, but Kimpel is still transporting people and their cars across the water to the opposite shore.

A transport ship lands under the Rhine River in Dormagen, Germany, on August 12.  As the level of the Rhine is falling more and more due to frequent droughts, navigation is only possible to a limited extent.  (Federico Gambarini/DPA via AP)
A transport ship lands under the Rhine River in Dormagen, Germany, on August 12. As the level of the Rhine is falling more and more due to frequent droughts, navigation is only possible to a limited extent. (Federico Gambarini/DPA via Associated Press)Federico Gambarini – DPA

“It’s grim,” he says as he paddles through the water that shimmers in the summer sun. ,We have 1.5 meters of water and our boat is 1.20 meters deep. So We have 30 cm of water left under us,

It is not unusual for the water level to drop here, but it is happening more frequently now, says Captain Kimpel. ,We used to have a lot of floods. Now we have very few water moments. ,

one on the bank of the river Old measuring station. Any official water level pattern of the Upper Rhine is recorded here. Levels are always taken from the same reference point in the water.

Parts of the Rhine River have little water left after a prolonged drought in Bingen, Germany.  (AP Photo/Michael Probst)
Parts of the Rhine River have little water left after a prolonged drought in Bingen, Germany. ( Associated Press Photo/Michael Probst)Michael Probst – Associated Press

current level Hasn’t dropped below the lowest figure ever recorded for this seasonWhich was 25 cm in October 2018. It currently measures 42 cm, but is expected to decrease further in the coming days.

no coal transport

Traveling a little further upstream shows that The challenge is clear. In the city of Bingen, also in Germany, large sections of the river are exposed, bleached stones dry to dust in the scorching sun.

People from the nearby town make their way through the rocks, taking pictures. In normal times those rocks would be under water. One man said he had never seen anything like this. some commercial ships they move slowly through a slight channel of water What’s left of this part?

People take pictures at the southern end of Margaret Island, which can be seen due to the low water level of the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary.  (AP Photo/Anna Szilagi, FILE)
People take pictures at the southern end of Margaret Island, which can be seen due to the low water level of the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary. ( Associated Press Photo/Anna Szilagi, FILE)Anna Szilagyi – Associated Press

It is one of Europe’s great active rivers and industries in this part of Germany depend on ships to source and transport raw materials and finished goods from the power stations and factories that line the river banks.

water level is already Too low to allow the passage of some large boats. Others have been forced to lower their weight in order not to drown so far in the water. Here they are very attentive to the level of the river.

Martina Baker of HGK Shipping says the Upper Rhine is likely to be completely closed to traffic. He tells us that the water level drops every year, but it is not as extreme as it is happening now.

“It’s quite extraordinary, especially for this time of year. July and August are usually quite wet months with a lot of rain and good water levels”, he maintains. This is in October when there are usually lower levels, he explains.

An aerial view of the water level in the Rhine at Rheinbrücke in North Rhine-Westphalia.  Christoph Reichwin/DPA
An aerial view of the water level in the Rhine at Rheinbrücke in North Rhine-Westphalia. Christoph Reichwin/DPAChristoph Reichwin – DPA

“It’s a unusual situation for us And the question is what is going to happen in October, when the generally dry months arrive. We are already approaching the all-time low that we had in 2018. We may reach that level next week.

Experts warn that low water levels may occur Germany’s economy has suffered greatly.

There is an additional concern for the government. Seeing it Russia cuts its gas supply to Germany, are now more dependent on coal-fired power plants. And, although a portion of the coal load runs through the rail network, most Coal runs through the river.

But the concern is far greater among those who live or work in the river.

The government agency that monitors water says the current low levels may be within the normal pattern. but he warns that Incidents like this are getting worse The situation will worsen as a result of climate change and in the latter part of this century.

In Bingen, the water has receded considerably Expose an old stone bridge Leads to a small island.

People laugh as they make their way through the rocks, enjoying the novelty of being able to get there on foot. but for many This new scenario is a warning.

jane hill

bbc mundo

Nation World News Desk
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