The Rhine River , one of the main European rivers and one of the largest and most used waterways in the European Union, is at its lowest water levels , as reported by the portal ‘ Bloomberg ‘.
The lack of water, according to the aforementioned media, has begun to cause problems in the supply of petroleum products in Switzerland and for the supply of coal to German power plants. The water level in one of the key points of the river for the transport of raw materials and supplies, such as Kaub, was about 71 centimeters , the lowest level in summer since 2007 in this same part of the country.
The authorities have warned about the consequences of a new drop in the flow of the Rhine. According to the representative of the German Federal Institute of Hydrology, Joerg Belz, if the water level drops another 37 centimeters, it will no longer be profitable for ships to transport products by the river. A situation that would compromise the transport of millions of products and raw materials from countries like Switzerland to the North Sea, where the river empties.
After the Danube, the Rhine is the second longest river in Central and Western Europe with a length of approximately 1,230 kilometers , and with an average discharge of approximately 2,900 cubic meters. “The low water level in the Rhine means that the ships cannot load coal at full capacity,” Guillaume Perret, of the consulting firm Perret Associates, explained to ‘Bloomberg’.
It is one of the most important river routes in all of Europe since, in addition to the transport of energy supply, it is used for the transport of goods from the ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp to different points in the interior of Europe. For Germany, for example, it is vital that the flow of the river remains at average levels, since it would allow it to guarantee the supply of energy material in a period in which Europe must seek an alternative to Russian gas .
Germany’s plan in the face of gas shortage
After the sanctions decreed by the European Union on the Russian economy and the Kremlin’s announcement to reduce the supply of gas through the Nord Stream I gas pipeline, the panorama of the German country has changed, and it has already found a first alternative to solve this problem .
In addition to the commitment to the use of coal as a solution, Berlin announced the launch of a system to auction the gas used in the industry and thus create incentives for saving with two gestures. One of them is taking shorter showers , and with an increased use of cold water. In this way, a saving of 10% would be obtained compared to other summers. The other method consists of a reduction in the temperature of the heaters .