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A large container ship being pulled by a tug boat through the Panama Canal as two workers walk alongside supervising

The Panama Ditch? Canal has the lowest water level in 70 years

PortandTerminal.com, December 7, 2019

November was one of the driest months in history for the Panama Canal Hydrographic Basin, resulting in the “redoubling of measures” to conserve and make more efficient use of water to keep it flowing

PANAMA CITY – Like other regions of the country affected by low rainfall, the Panama Canal Watershed closed out November as one of the driest in its history. The accumulated rainfall of 2019 so far is the fourth-lowest year in the history of the Panama Canal records.

Levels at the reservoirs that supply water to half of the population of the Central American country and the Panama Canal itself are at dangerously low levels.

State of Emergency

As a result of climate change, several regions of the country have been affected by a prolonged drought, which has led the Cabinet Council to declare a state of emergency in six provinces of the country.

READ: Crippling drought forces the Panama Canal to impose further draft limits

To make matters worse, all of this is happening several weeks BEFORE the start the actual annual dry season in Panama.

The drought has forced authorities in Panama to make some difficult choices and set priorities to ensure the continued unimpeded operation of the canal.

These hard choices include the suspension of power generation at the Gatún hydroelectric plant, the intensive use of water-saving tubs in the neo-Panamax locks and other water-saving measures.

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