Problems in Romania – Danube level lower than in 100 years


Declining river levels as a result of severe drought are currently causing problems in many countries. In Romania, the water level of the Danube is the lowest in 100 years. In the small town of Zimnicea, on the state border with Bulgaria, numerous ships are anchored in the harbor. You must now navigate individually through the last available fairway.

Even in the middle of the stream, islands of sand have now formed. While shipping hasn’t been completely halted yet, it’s currently struggling. “There are (sand) rapids between river kilometers 563 and 565 and ships are waiting to pass. Those going upstream will wait at kilometer 559, those going downstream will wait at kilometer 570,” said Zimnicea Port Authority Manager Radoi Lili Dorel.

“I’ve never seen the Danube level as low as this year, it’s very low. I was a kid when it was very low once, but not that low. The drought is really bad,” says Marcel, a pensioner who has already has lived in Zimnicea since childhood.

Electricity in many places just a trickle
The Danube – like many other European rivers – is like a trickle in many places this summer. In Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania, sand islands have formed in the river, many ships can go no further and power plants have no cooling water.

Even in its country of origin, Germany, the 2,857 kilometer long Danube – Europe’s second longest river after the Volga – carries far too little water. The first cruises had already been canceled, while the routes of others were changed. Also in the Bavarian town of Deggendorf there have been no cargo ships for days and loading and unloading activities in the city harbor have been suspended.

On Friday, the level in Deggendorf, which is also called Donaustadt because of its location opposite the mouth of the Isar and the Danube, was only 141 centimeters. Values ​​of around 2.5 to three meters are normal, reports the “Passauer Neue Presse”. No one in town can remember such a low value. According to the newspaper, at the end of August 2003, the lowest water level to date was 1.51 meters.

Rain raises levels in Vienna and Budapest
In Budapest, the ongoing drought caused the level of the Danube to drop by about a meter in August. However, last weekend’s thunderstorms and heavy rainfall have eased the situation for shipping. In Vienna, the level has recently risen by more than two meters due to the storm. “Rain has brought water and if the low pressure zones subside again, the level will drop again,” said via-danube spokesman Christoph Caspar. They are natural fluctuations.

In Serbia, the banks of the Danube are currently reminiscent of endless sandy beaches. The water level there is up to fifty percent lower than in an average August. Swimming in the river is currently child’s play and in some places you can even cross the river on foot.

Source: Krone


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