Panama Canal Drought

MANAGER of the Panama Canal has decided to continue to limit the number of ships passing through the passage connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The drought has made it difficult for ships to pass and has caused queues.

The Panama Canal needs rainwater to move ships through locks that work like elevators. Canal official Ilya Espino said that if there was no rain in the next three months, it would take up to a year for the canal to operate normally.

Every ship moving through the canal requires 200 million liters of fresh water to pass. Its supply is provided by two rainfall lakes in the surrounding watershed. The two lakes are also used to supply drinking water to half of Panama, which has a population of around 4.2 million people.

History As of 2022, an average of 40 ships cross the canal every day. As a result of this drought, the number was reduced to 32 ships on the grounds of saving water. On Thursday (24/8), around 130 ships were waiting in line, up from the usual 90.

Waiting times have increased, usually between three and five days, sometimes up to 19 days and currently around 11 days. This week Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo was forced to refute Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s assertion that the canal was paralyzed. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also referred to the difficult situation facing the waterway.

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