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Historic low: Rhine level drops to four centimeters


The persistent drought is causing problems for the Rhine: A new low was measured in Emmerich, and the level could fall further in the coming days. The consequences also affect shipping.

Enlarge image

Emmerich am Rhein (photo from August 14): "As long as it doesn't rain, it's going downhill"

Photo: IMAGO/Ying Tang / IMAGO/NurPhoto

Due to the persistent drought, the Rhine level in Emmerich has reached a new low just before the Dutch border.

On Monday morning, only four centimeters were measured, said the Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV) via its Elwis portal.

The previous historical low was seven centimeters at the end of October 2018.

The authority expects the water levels to fall further in the coming days - on Tuesday afternoon in Emmerich the level should even reach zero.

The water level is not to be confused with the fairway – there, 1.80 meters are kept free for commercial shipping in Emmerich.

A Rhine ferry near Rees was discontinued because of the low water, as the ferry company announced.

The Rhine level near Cologne was 76 centimeters on Monday morning – seven centimeters above the previous low of 69 centimeters.

34 centimeters were measured in Düsseldorf – the lowest value measured there is 23 centimeters.

Cargo and passenger ships in particular have been struggling with low water for weeks.

Inland waterway skippers must take the draft of the ship into account when loading their cargo.

When the water levels are low, they can carry less freight, and at some point the transport becomes uneconomical.

Fairway depth at Kaub particularly low

The level at Kaub between Mainz and Koblenz, which is important for shipping on the Rhine, has fallen further.

According to the WSV, it was 32 centimeters on Monday morning and thus around 5 centimeters lower than at the same time the previous day.

According to a forecast by the authority, the water level could fluctuate between 31 and 33 centimeters by Friday.

This does not show the actual water depth, but the difference between the water surface and the so-called zero level, which is not at the deepest point of the river bed.

According to WSV information from Monday, the fairway depth at Kaub was 1.43 meters on Monday morning.

According to the WSV, the fairway depth is lower in no other section of the Middle and Lower Rhine.

It is decisive for how much cargo barges can load.

"As long as it doesn't rain, things will continue downhill," a spokesman for the Rhine Water and Shipping Authority told dpa on Sunday.

It is unusual that low levels are reached so early in the year.

The authorities do not expect the water levels to ease slightly until the middle of the new week.


Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-08-15

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