Lack of rain in the Mississippi River basin has caused decreasing of the water level, hampering the shipping transport due to the narrowed width of the river.
SEMO Port Authority executive director Dan Overbey stated that the water levels havenâ€™t caused to much trouble, but that the forecasts are not very optimistic, the Southeast Missourian reports.
In order to prevent further inconveniences, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans next week to start dredging the port, adding three to four feet to the portâ€™s depth.
The long anticipated dredging works, which have been prolonged due to the budget cuts, are expected to mitigate consequences of potential land sliding prompted by dropping of the water level.
Draught has also resulted in limiting the amount of cargo in each barge, since according to Overbey, loads typically allow for a barge to go 12 feet down in the water, but barges are now loaded with a 9-foot depth.
Even though low water level is usual for this time of year, the threatening thing is the rate of the water levelsâ€™ plummeting that could result in major complications.
According to the corps, more than 500 million tons of commodities travel up and down the river on annual basis, thus, the route is of extreme importance
Dredging Today Staff, July 20, 2012; Image: SEMO Port Authority