Canal water woes worst in 70 years

2,062Views 1Comments Posted 06/01/2020

2019 ended with the fifth-lowest amount of rainfall in the last 70 years in the Canal Hydrographic Basin, with a 20% reduction compared to the historical average, reports the Canal Authority (ACP).

Last year there were 2,149 millimeters of precipitation, which represents 20% below the historical average of 2m 695 695 millimeters, fifth-lowest since 1949.

At 7:00 am on Monday, January 6, Gatun Lake recorded 25.72 meters (84.37 feet), 1.08 meters below the expected level for this date that should be 26.80 meters (87.92 feet), while Lake Alajuela stood at 76.85 meters (252.28 feet), compared to 76.63 meters (251.42 feet) of the guide level.

Gatun Lake supplies the water purifiers of Mendoza, Laguna Alta, Monte Esperanza, Miraflores, Sabanitas, Escobal, Cuipo, and Gatún, as well as the  Canal operations

Gatun Lake, with 436 square kilometers of the surface is 10 times larger than the Alajuela, therefore, requires much more rainwater to fill at an optimal level to face the dry season ahead.

During all the months of last year, the rains in the Canal Hydrographic Basin were lower than their historical level, according to the ACP report.

This situation leads the Canal to continue with water-saving measures by suspending the hydroelectric generation in Gatun, eliminating hydraulic assistance in the Panamax locks, applying cross-lock in the Panamax locks, simultaneous locks and use of savings vats of water in the neo-Panamax locks.