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Record low Parana River threatens Argentine second city

Monday, January 5th 2009 - 20:00 UTC
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The mighty Parana River, one of South America's main waterways which connect the River Plate with the heartland of Argentina, Brazil and landlocked Paraguay and Bolivia has reached a low of 1.02 meters of water just 9 centimetres from the all time record of 0.93 in 1917.

The situation is particularly difficult for Rosario, Argentina's second largest city (1.2 million) and the country's oil seeds hub, which has been forced to drastically limit navigation and close several beaches. And the situation will get worse before improving. "In the coming days the water level could fall a further 15 centimetres along Rosario's coastline, so we've ordered the municipal guards to increase controls and enforce measures which have been decided" said Raul Rainone, head of the city's Civil Defence. The local waterworks company which supplies the city has called on residents to limit consumption, "but we are doing our outmost to ensure the provision of drinking water". "At this time of the month the historic average water level in the Parana river is 3.40 meters according to the National Water Institute, INA", and the situation does not anticipate improvements for much of the rest of the month, said Guillermo Lanfranco, spokesperson for Aguas Santafesinas However Lanfranco said the company was adding pumps along the river to compensate current losses, "but people can expect low pressure, at the end of the distribution lines, particularly at peak consumption times". Rosario city records show that such low water levels at this time of the year (summer) are extremely rare, they usually occur beginning March and towards winter. "There are very few records of such low water levels in the Parana river this time of the year"

Categories: Economy, Argentina.

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