Drought river threatens industrial economy


The river of doubt, the Rio da Duvida, now known as the Roosevelt River, is a tributary of the Aripuana River and flows into the Amazon via the Madeira River. Theodore Roosevelt nearly lost his life as he was the first white man to explore the area after losing the 1912 presidential election. It is a dangerous river, seldom traveled and unforgiving.

Today there are several ‘rivers of doubt’, but in Europe, North America and Asia, there are all doubts about how drought will affect the industrialized economies of these three continents. As we will see later, like the rivers of first doubt, droughts in these rivers have dangerous consequences, are rare and their effects are relentless.


On the Rhine, an inland waterway that carries goods and commodities between Switzerland, Germany, France and the Netherlands, water levels are so low that barges are well below capacity to keep the river navigable. Shipping companies demand and get premiums for transporting barges along rivers, exacerbating inflation in Europe. 8.6 percentEurozone t in June.

The Danube is similarly low, so some of the Balkan countries dredging Allow the barge to pass. Drought has hampered the movement of the goods needed to make steel and fuel coal-fired power plants along the Ruhr Valley, Germany’s industrial heartland.At the time of writing, the measurement points are West of Frankfurt, Kaub, and is an important data point because it is a bottleneck for barge traffic, measuring about 148 centimeters (cm) and about 4 feet 10 inches. Earlier this month it was only 49 cm (19 in). The current resting period is expected to clear up for the fall, when shallow water will impede navigation on the river.

The Seine is similarly low, with dead fish and French wine grapes at risk of dying on the vine. The Po River in northern Italy is in similar danger.

In its birthplace, England, The Thames was almost dry. In July, the Thames basin experienced its driest month in over 85 years.

North America

As shown, drought conditions in the southwestern United States are expected to last at least through November. this National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration map.

North American Drought Monitor
North American Drought Monitor, July 2022. (National Oceanographic / Atmospheric Administration – NOAA)

The drought is widespread along all or part of the Missouri, Colorado, Platte, Sacramento, and Rio Grande rivers. Massachusetts, Connecticut, and other New England states are also experiencing droughts.

However, unlike Europe, most of America’s inland waterways are in the Mississippi River basin, which has been graciously spared most of the effects of drought, and are therefore still navigable. I have. The proposal is sure to provoke fierce political debate.

However, rivers such as Colorado, Sacramento, and Missouri are important for agricultural irrigation, so drought affects crop production and feed prices. in California, San Joaquin River Valley, The state, which produces most of California’s agricultural products and produces nearly 13% of the nation’s, is in the midst of a two-year drought. officials explain as “unprecedented low runoff from the Sierra Cascade snowpack.”

along the Colorado River, lake mead About 85% of capacity. But Lake Powell About a quarter of capacity. These are two of the largest reservoirs in the West.The situation at Lake Meade is the Fox 5 in Las Vegas and these pictures From NASA.

Epoch Times photo
A photo of the Colorado River showing drought in the Overton Arm. (Source: NASA)

Lake Mead is very important because it helps provide drinking water and hydroelectric power for much of the Southwest via the Hoover Dam. Turbines that generate electricity require a depth of at least 1,000 feet at the Hoover Dam. As of this writing, the water is only 1,043 feet deep.

Recent monsoon rains in the southwest are only a temporary respite from the drought. This is because the ground is so hard and dry that much of the rain never reaches the water table. A sudden heavy rain flows into the sea.Drought is so severe, experts say it will take time Above average precipitation for 3 years For this region to truly recover from the drought.


In China, the temperature in Sichuan reached 104It suffered the worst drought in more than half a century.according to bloombergDaily hydropower, which supplies more than 80% of the state’s electricity, is down 51%. A factory in the state was ordered to close a key manufacturing hub for electric vehicle batteries and solar panels. In the big city of Chongqing, Shopping mall It was ordered closed until the evening to conserve the power needed for air conditioning.

The Beijing government sowing cloud It produces rain in hopes of protecting the crops that depend on the Yangtze River Basin. All of this exacerbates China’s already depressed gross domestic product levels.


Continued drought could pose an existential threat to thousands of businesses and industries in the global economy, especially in regions where hydropower is the primary energy source. For many of these companies and industries, energy costs will become prohibitive, jeopardizing their position as businesses. future concerns.

For other producers, the dangers of maritime transport on inland waterways are very likely to drive producer prices up and reduce production due to supply shortages. It means layoffs in farming, warehousing and sales, just as consumer prices rise due to the shock to the agricultural economy brought on by the drought.

From a policy perspective, governments can do little but alleviate the severe pain of drought. Economic palliative care, one might call it, eases the pain of supply-side inflation but does not cure it. Can be improved to allow coal and natural gas to ignite power plants. By increasing disposable income, tax cuts could alleviate the enormous costs consumers incur if the drought persists. It could also help reverse the recent trend of monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve, Bank of England, and European Central Bank, and boost liquidity for profit-constrained industrial firms and retailers.

In the long run, developed countries in the Northern Hemisphere can do things that will cost them very little and will significantly reduce their energy and water use. For example, in cities this may include the use of paved surfaces. albedo Rated to reflect sunlight rather than absorb it, reducing urban heat island effect (UHIE) and air conditioning use. Artificial turf is widely used in playgrounds and even parks to protect water. Plant trees along streets and boulevards to further reduce UHIE.tax credit for geothermal and gas-fired heat pumps; And, especially in dry climates, normalize the culture of rock garden landscaping, like Japanon the green grass, to keep the water.

This issue is well beyond the scope of this article, so I leave it to others to dispute or claim that “climate change” is the cause of these droughts. In my view, local governments are better suited than national or local governments to tackle UHIE, electricity and water conservation.

J.G. Collins


JG Collins is Managing Director of Stuyvesant Square Consultancy, a strategic advisory, market research and consulting firm in New York City. His writings on economics, trade, politics, and public policy have appeared in publications such as Forbes, New York Post, Crane’s New York Business, The Hill, and American Conservative.