Dry season threatens Panama Canal

Dry season threatens Panama Canal.jpg

The Panama Canal will implement water conservation measures during the rainy months to help recover water in all the surrounding lakes.

The Canal is closely monitoring the development of weather events affecting water availability in the canal watershed, which according to forecasts, could worsen with the arrival of the El Niño phenomenon.

“Current estimates indicate that the economic impact is unavoidable,” said Panama Canal in a statement.

“This is an issue that the Panama Canal has been warning and preparing for however, we could not have predicted exactly when the water shortage would occur to the degree that we are experiencing now,” commented Canal administrator, Ricaurte Vásquez Morales.

The Panama Canal has implemented water-saving measures to maintain maximum capacity in its reservoirs during May through December rainy season, however, the current conditions are creating an unprecedented drought, and thus far has produced the driest year on record since 1950.

Consequently, since January, the canal has implemented a series of water-saving measures within its operations which will guarantee that ample water resources will be available to supply the population and offer a reliable and competitive service to customers throughout the dry season.

Moreover, Panama Canal specialists with the United States Corps of Engineers have evaluated alternatives as part of a study for the Water Sustainability System, studying different scenarios and growth projects to find long-term solutions that will allow the canal to guarantee this resource for the next 50 years.

Earlier, in April 2023, the Panama Canal had announced that a temporary draft level adjustment for Neopanamax vessels transiting the interoceanic route would come into effect due to the recent drought, which has led to low levels in the lake system.

As a result of this adjustment for the current dry season, vessels making the transit will be offered a draft of 14.4 meters instead of the maximum allowable draft of 15 meters.

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