HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Low Water Levels On The M...

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 06:00 PM

Low Water Levels On The Mississippi River A Major Threat To Commerce: ‘This Is Absolutely Not Normal

Companies operating along the Mississippi River are seeing a drastic cut in business as severe drought lowers water levels and makes shipping increasingly difficult.

The drought, which now covers more than 1,000 counties across the US, has dropped water levels 50 feet below last year’s levels in some places. Last winter’s lack of snow, the absence of any major tropical storms from the Gulf of Mexico, sweltering temperatures, and the lack of rain this spring and summer are to blame for the shallow water.

The Mississippi is a major trade conduit through the central U.S. Barges, which are often cheaper to operate than trains or trucks, carry goods such as grain, corn, soybeans, steel, rubber, coffee, fertilizer, coal, and petroleum products in and out of the interior of the country.

As the water levels fall, barges have run aground near Vicksburg, Mississippi, where the water is already less than 5 feet deep, and shipping companies have been forced to curtail their business. The Wall Street Journal reports:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2012/07/16/520241/low-water-levels-on-the-mississippi-river-a-major-threat-to-commerce-this-is-absolutely-not-normal/

48 replies, 4615 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 48 replies Author Time Post
Reply Low Water Levels On The Mississippi River A Major Threat To Commerce: ‘This Is Absolutely Not Normal (Original post)
MindMover Jul 2012 OP
Scuba Jul 2012 #1
AngryOldDem Jul 2012 #2
AnotherMcIntosh Jul 2012 #3
aquart Jul 2012 #4
AnotherMcIntosh Jul 2012 #6
TheMightyFavog Jul 2012 #16
quaker bill Jul 2012 #7
AnotherMcIntosh Jul 2012 #9
valerief Jul 2012 #11
AnotherMcIntosh Jul 2012 #14
Thor_MN Jul 2012 #15
AnotherMcIntosh Jul 2012 #21
A HERETIC I AM Jul 2012 #24
AnotherMcIntosh Jul 2012 #25
A HERETIC I AM Jul 2012 #29
Thor_MN Jul 2012 #48
JDPriestly Jul 2012 #10
HooptieWagon Jul 2012 #17
fascisthunter Jul 2012 #5
valerief Jul 2012 #13
evilhime Jul 2012 #19
raouldukelives Jul 2012 #34
fascisthunter Jul 2012 #47
felix_numinous Jul 2012 #8
drokhole Jul 2012 #28
felix_numinous Jul 2012 #37
drokhole Jul 2012 #38
felix_numinous Jul 2012 #41
felix_numinous Jul 2012 #45
rwsanders Jul 2012 #12
Spitfire of ATJ Jul 2012 #22
MadHound Jul 2012 #33
rwsanders Jul 2012 #44
Sgent Jul 2012 #36
RUMMYisFROSTED Jul 2012 #18
Spitfire of ATJ Jul 2012 #20
madrchsod Jul 2012 #23
lonestarnot Jul 2012 #32
Champion Jack Jul 2012 #26
amandabeech Jul 2012 #42
Politicalboi Jul 2012 #27
malaise Jul 2012 #30
AngryOldDem Jul 2012 #31
B Calm Jul 2012 #35
bluedigger Jul 2012 #39
Odin2005 Jul 2012 #40
amandabeech Jul 2012 #43
mick063 Jul 2012 #46

Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 06:06 PM

1. K&R Thanks for posting.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 06:11 PM

2. K&R

The consequences of this drought are, I fear, much more dire than most people realize.

Reservoirs are also drying up. They are the main sources of water for a lot of cities.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 06:30 PM

3. This is all predictible.

 

If energy companies can transport oil and gas through pipelines from Canada to the gulf, or from some States to other States, it is possible to transport drinking water or potable water from the oceans to the inland areas.

If the water loss can be recognized as an emergency that is going to have long-term consequences along the Mississippi and the States next to it, as well as other States which have seen a loss in the water table, the federal government could make an effort to desalinate ocean water so that it could be transported inland.

But, no. We have to squander our resources on military adventures. We have to borrow from foreign countries so that we can continue to finance the military adventures and give tax breaks to the super-rich.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 06:33 PM

4. Aqueducts!

A national grid that redirects too much to too little.

Now there's a project that will create jobs and innovation.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aquart (Reply #4)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 06:50 PM

6. If the Romans could do it, ...

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to aquart (Reply #4)


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 07:27 PM

7. A fairly insane idea

Desal is a very expensive process. It is suitable for drinking water needs and other domestic / industrial (high value) uses. It does not work for irrigating corn fields or refilling the Mississippi.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to quaker bill (Reply #7)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 07:39 PM

9. Desalination is expensive. Too expensive? More expensive than endless wars?

 

The Egyptians built pyramids. The Romans built aqueducts. We dug the Panama Canal. We've developed unlimited energy with nuclear power. And we sent men to the moon.

Now, in your view transporting drinking water inland is too expensive for anyone to consider?

Somehow I don't think that you're an expert in the area.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #9)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 07:43 PM

11. If we didn't have wars, where would rich people steal all the really big money? nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to valerief (Reply #11)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 08:05 PM

14. That's why, of course, why we will not have desalinated water. Wars are sucking out all the money.

 

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #9)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 08:11 PM

15. Considering that you are proposing desalinating water in response to an artcle

 

about water levels only in relation to barge traffic, I would have to agree that your proposal is quite insane or off topic. While you did talk about drinking water, the original artcle didn't. So relative to the OP, your suggestion is either off topic or just plain nuts.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Thor_MN (Reply #15)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 08:54 PM

21. Nonsense. There are locks and dams on the Mississippi river. The height of the dams can be used

 

to determine the water level. This is not just a matter of bring in water and dumping it in so that it will just flow out to the Gulf. Would this require a major effort. Yes. Of course. I referred to desalinated water, or potable water and also used the phrase drinking water when referring to such water to distinguish it from drinking water.

Do you think that the Mississippi has water as salty as the Pacific or the Atlantic? Do you think that the Missisippi does not have potable water?

Some think that the recent initiative in Saudi Arabia to enlarge its water desalination capacity using high-tech green technology is a smart move. You may not think so. You may think that they are "nuts" or that any country that would follow their lead would be "nuts." Of course, you may believe that we have an unlimited supply of water or that our supply is so sufficient that we need not follow those in Saudi Arabia to increase our water supply.

Do you believe that barge traffic always requires a full Mississippi river and that there are no alternatives? In the 1800's, barge traffic in northern New York was achieved by digging the Erie Canal. This allowed barges to be floated on a water way which did not require the depth of the Mississippi. Do you think that it is impossible to build a larger canal for larger barges? We built the Panama canal.

You don't think that any alternative to continued loss of water can be considered? You don't like considering any alternative? Too bad.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #21)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 09:10 PM

24. The difference between an Erie Canal barge and a modern ...

Mississippi River barge is equivalent to the difference between an 1800,s sailing vessel and a 700 foot container ship. The difference is so dramatic as to make your comparison laughable.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #24)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 09:23 PM

25. My words mean exactly what they say. You have mischaracterized what I have said in order to use

 

a false equivalency. At no time did I claim that an Erie Canal Barge is equivalent to a Mississippi River barge. You did. I didn't. I also referred to the Panama Canal which was dug by men and machines. Is there any Mississippi River barge that would not fit through the Panama Canal? Because you have mischaracterized what I have said, I think that you are being purposely obtuse and do not expect to reply further.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #25)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 09:46 PM

29. Blah, blah, fucking blah.

I'm in a bar. Just wait till
I get back to my hotel room and my laptop! Then I'll give you the what for you whippersnapper.

"purposely obtuse"?!?



Naaaah... Just having fun . This is like the " those damned corporations are going to mine the moon water" thread from a year or so ago. It has HUGE comic potential.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #21)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 09:20 PM

48. I LIVE on the Mississippi River.

 

You, in contrast to what you have accused other people of, apparently do not know what you are talking about. You posted an off topic musing about desalinating water to an article purely about water levels in the river and are now trying to distract from that fact with a series of questions that have nothing to do with the post you made.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 07:43 PM

10. In Los Angeles, we have been on water rationing for several years.

And the cost of our water is rising.

The other day I was reading about the plagues during the 14th century and thinking about the importance of cleanliness and controlling pests like rats. Water shortages don't just mean thirsty people. They mean filth, the inability to control sewage disposal and other things vital to our health to say nothing of food shortages.

Water, earth and air are the bases of life. We need to understand that.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #3)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 08:20 PM

17. Some of Tampa Bay area drinking water is from desal

 

The plant went way over budget, maintanence costs are high, and it only produces a quarter of the intended fresh water. Cost of the water is very high. I wouldnt look to desal as an economical supply of fresh water for the foreseeable future.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 06:43 PM

5. I Hope ALL Americans Remember how the GOP Denied Global Warming

 

cause it's gonna kill many.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to fascisthunter (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 07:44 PM

13. Yes, but rich people will be okay and that's all that matters. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to fascisthunter (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 08:49 PM

19. And they will say

it is the will of the Almighty OR cyclical, OR they may even call it Malthusian economics . . . ridding the world of the hou polloi and letting the entitled rich survive.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to fascisthunter (Reply #5)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 10:37 PM

34. And how many continued to support Wall St.

Despite the obvious destruction they were exacerbating.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to raouldukelives (Reply #34)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 12:50 PM

47. sociopathic behavior... it's bad

 

their excuse is greed. Bad. I'm done with them and their goofey mental gymnastics they call rebuttals.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 07:35 PM

8. Permaculture and water saving techniques

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to felix_numinous (Reply #8)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 09:39 PM

28. Thanks so much for the links!



I fear how much topsoil is being lost in this drought - as if we weren't decimating it already with our industrial farming practices. And since those mono-culture, petro-chemical intensive methods don't do anything to build back up/add to the biomass, I wonder how well some soils will even rebound after this season.

The only hope we really have is to come to our goddamn senses and move towards those permaculture techniques that foster nature's closed-loop genius - being mindful of and tending to the interdependent relationship of big organisms (herbivores, birds, pigs, etc...), small organisms (worms, ants, etc...), microorganisms (bacteria, protozoa, fungi, etc...), and, of course, efficient harvesting of rainwater. This is the way nature maintains and builds soil! It may not be insta-fast and full of eye-glazing techno-glitz, but it's the only way it can be done.

Thanks again for the resources! I had a thread from awhile back that you might enjoy (be sure to check the links down thread as well):

To Kick Climate Change, Replace Corn With Pastured Beef

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to drokhole (Reply #28)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 11:21 AM

37. Your welcome

and good to see you Drokhole and thanks for the link too.


I also love Paul Stamets' ideas, you may have already heard of him. I think we can do a lot with the land, to replenish the soils, then the plants and then sort of affect microclimates. It is great to check into how people in deserts plant in ravines and along waterways too.

http://www.fungi.com/about-paul-stamets.html

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to felix_numinous (Reply #37)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 12:33 PM

38. Holy crap, absolutely!!!

I'm a HUGE Paul Stamets fan, and am constantly amazed by his discoveries and revelations on the seemingly limitless properties/potential of fungi. Especially the replenishment of soils via bioremediaion with fungi (or, as he calls it, "mycoremediation". It's one of those things that makes you realize just how interconnected/intergrated/interdependent the ecosystem really is ("realize" in a competently ignorant kind of way, because it really is so mindbogglingly intensely complex it is almost beyond comprehension). I have a good number of his speeches/interviews favorited on the Youtubes.

It really does come down to the management of the land/resources, and how grossly inept we are at it. Just look at how much of it is wasted on one of America's ultimate status symbols - the lawn. Vast expanses of chemically treated, water-devouring emptiness. This guy does a good job of covering the basics:



We could easily be converting portions of that to edible landscapes, using soil-building compost in the process. Joel Salatin has covered this subject in-depth in his books and speeches, and mentions it in one of those links from that thread I had:

"Truth No. 3: There is plenty of land for farming. Unused land is everywhere. The U.S. has 35 million acres of lawn. How about all those irrigated golf courses around Phoenix, Az.? The U.S. dedicates 36 million acres to housing and growing feed for recreational horses. I’m not against lawns or horses, or golf for that matter, but to run around like Henny Penny proclaiming “we’re running out of food” is a bit premature when actually on these lands alone we could grow all the food America needs. Edible landscaping should be promoted by everyone. In Italy, the expressway intersections are divided into quarter-acre gardens tended by urbanites who spend their weekends connecting to their ecological umbilical: building community, having fun, growing food. Forget the batwing mowers—grow squash instead."

And I totally agree with how great it is to see permaculturists use their ingenuity in desert landscapes. You might already be familiar with this, but here's a really cool case of it in action:



And great to see you too, felix_numinous!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to drokhole (Reply #38)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 06:57 PM

41. What's crazy is that median strips, golf courses

people's ornamental bushes are totally plumbed. Not that it is totally bad--maybe if food trees and crops and beneficial ground covers were grown instead. Water management IS a science and a very developed skill that could present some great civil engineer projects. I think after the Dust Bowl, there were nationalized projects that put people to work, although they made dams and canals, perhaps the 21st century version could be more sustainable

This is a very important discussion--how to take care of the Earth we stand on--without a good foundation, nothing else works.

Thanks for the fantastic links too--I love this guy!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to felix_numinous (Reply #41)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 01:14 AM

45. Hemp and many crops actually replenish the soil

like red clover, they actually thrive on depleted soils. They not only support nutrients but they prevent erosion too. Many of these plants can be harvested or just tilled under to create compost.

I wanted to add this idea to this thread because we all have to start thinking of ways to prevent the water from washing out to sea. If the soil becomes damaged this is what will happen.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 07:44 PM

12. Sorry if I'm not too sympathetic...

considering the majority of these businesses are probably chock full of republican voters. I know a lot of the towboat companies and shipping companies are.
Sometimes I think the lefts slogan on global warming should be "hey, you voted for it" or to get the Christian right "God is not mocked, so as a man sows, so shall he reap".
Also, the situation is probably not as dire as it is listed. The northern great plains states hold a lot of missouri river water because they see it as "theirs".

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rwsanders (Reply #12)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 08:57 PM

22. Great.....

 

Now ya got me picturing a mass migration to the Great Lakes.

Speaking of Milwaukee, I think I need a beer....

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rwsanders (Reply #12)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 10:12 PM

33. Well, apparently you have no clue about the situation,

 

And it sounds like you have no empathy, sympathy, or actual realization that there are plenty of wonderful people, people who would even meet your criteria for correct politic, that are being dramatically effected. No just shippers, but farmers, businessmen, oh, and given the scope of inland shipping, you.

The fact that you seem to think it is OK that a major disaster hit people you don't even know says a lot about you, none of it good. I suggest that you reflect upon not becoming that which you hate, heartless and soulless.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MadHound (Reply #33)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 09:25 PM

44. You may want to take some of your own advice...

In one short post you made false assumptions, jumped to conclusions, etc.
I'm sure I understand far more about the situation than you do.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to rwsanders (Reply #12)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 11:01 PM

36. The business owners might be

but the crews usually aren't.

Even the officers on most ships are union -- often some of the few union workers in the area.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 08:31 PM

18. ...cool, clear, water...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 08:53 PM

20. Next up, a flood.

 

Climate change sure makes headlines for not being real.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 09:10 PM

23. this problem has been around for at least 100 yrs

parts of the river are shallow and during droughts the river traffic stops. there`s been studies.plans,and half ass attempts to solve these problems. the biggest obstacle is political will to spend billions of dollars.

it is far easier to spend hundreds of billions on 12 yrs of war than to improve our countries lifeline between the mountains.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to madrchsod (Reply #23)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 09:56 PM

32. And the black slippery stuff. 17 old white pissed off creeps own America's political system anyway,

 

therefore they own the country. I am going to sit back and wait and see if Americans falls for all the money spending on lies shit and if they do, I'll probably have waited to long to get my passport and make arrangements to get out. Geeze. Sorry, but I am a bit overwhelmed with grief for this nation tonight.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 09:28 PM

26. I wonder if it could have anything to do with the low levels of the

Creeks and rivers that feed the Mississippi. Around here the creeks are unusually low because of the drought and the gas Frackers pulling millions of gallons out of them in the middle of the night

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Champion Jack (Reply #26)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 07:48 PM

42. That is a very interesting idea.

 

Thanks for posting!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 09:34 PM

27. Arrest these companies

 

There is no such thing as Global Warming.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 09:48 PM

30. I remember asking about the implications of the very warm winter with

very little snow. Well here they come.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to malaise (Reply #30)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 09:53 PM

31. Yep.

And I am not looking forward to the predictions for the coming winter, either.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Mon Jul 16, 2012, 10:41 PM

35. The Wabash river here in Indiana

 

looks like it's about to dry up. Never in all my years have I seen it this low.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 01:14 PM

39. There won't be much need for barge traffic once the crops fail.

Most barges go up the Big Muddy empty and come back laden.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 01:31 PM

40. They they told me that Global Warming was a Librul lie, pa!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 07:53 PM

43. Back in the old days, a considerable amount of grain was shipped to market through the Great Lakes.

 

Grain was loaded in Duluth/Superior in special bulk carriers meant only for the Lakes, and was offloaded in Buffalo, where it proceeded to the northeast, or the carriers went all the way to Montreal, where the grain could be loaded onto ocean-going ships.

In very early days, the grain was loaded onto the small Erie Canal barges as well as rail cars. Part of the Erie is still in use mostly for pleasure boating, I think.

NO, there will be no more diversions of Great Lakes water to the Mississippi system. We're going to have to make use of the Lakes' water where it currently flows.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to MindMover (Original post)

Wed Jul 18, 2012, 01:57 AM

46. My dad worked for the Corps of Engineers

 

His title was, Chief of Operations, Walla Walla District, US Army Corps of Engineers (in the State of Washington).


His primary function was to ensure sustained operation of navigation locks, power generators, salmon facilitation up and down stream, flood control, and recreation (parks, boat launches, etc.)

He once told me about the costs associated to an absence of navigation locks on the Columbia and/or Snake Rivers. It isn't just measured in costs to the companies doing business. The number of trucks required to ship the equivalent amount of otherwise barged grain would quickly "wear out" highways and roads costing taxpayers a great deal in "never ending" road maintenance. This was just one of many factors involved with the loss of river navigation.

Cities historically grow next to rivers. They have for thousands of years. Rivers have huge impact upon local/regional economies.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread