WATER CRISIS: Panama lakes at lowest level in 103 years

2,850Views 0Comments Posted 19/02/2016

THE PANAMA  LAKES that are the main sources of water for canal operations and human consumption, are at their lowest level since the canal  was opened.

Gatun and Alajuela lakes, in February recorded the lowest levels in 103 years, according to the Panama Canal Authority (ACP).

Gatun, created in 1914 is  1.4 meters below the level which was recorded for that date, while the Alajuela Lake, created in 1935, is  3.4 meters less than the level it should be at, reports the Panama Canal Authority.

Historical records show that for  26 months,  the lake level has been below average.

Part of the water deficit is attributed to the phenomenon of El Niño, among other things, extending the dry season with less rain in the Pacific reports La Prensa.

It is anticipated. Reports La Prensa  that between May and June Gatun and Alajuela lakes will reach their lowest levels and the picture will be difficult. The situation is critical for the Canal, but also for human consumption because nine water treatment plants take raw water from the  lakes.

The water resourcesdection of the  ACP meets weekly with the Senior Management Team to analyze the situation and determine actions to follow.

In one month it will  decide whether to send warnings  restricting vessel draft, at least five weeks in advance for carriers to make the necessary adjustments to their freight plans says , Carlos Vargas reported , the  ACP’s vice president of Environment, Water and Energy

One of the other  measures to be implemented would be to reduce the number of cargo vessels transiting  the Canal.

In the case of water for human consumption,  major water conservation progrms would need to be implemented.