Panama’s worst drought hints at the future of its canal Tue, May 21, 2019 - 2:34 PM "The last five months have been the driest dry season in the history of the canal," said Carlos Vargas, the Panama Canal Authority's executive vice president for environment, water and energy. According to a press release from the Authority of the Panama Canal (ACP), each foot (0.30 meters) of allowed depth accounts for some 330… The limits affected only very large ships using the canal’s newest locks, which opened in 2016. A cargo ship transits the Panama Canal on its way to the Atlantic Ocean, while tree trunks that used to be submerged are exposed due to the low water levels of Gatun Lake, Panama on April 21, 2019. Ogden and Jefferson Hall, a staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute who has worked in Panama, said attributing any particular event to climate change can be hard. In this April 21, 2019 photo, a cargo ship transits the Panama Canal in its way to the Atlantic Ocean, while tree trunks that used to be submerged are exposed due to the low water levels of Gatún lake, Panama. According to ACP, the Panama Canal authority, after four to five months of almost no rain, the river flow to the reservoir is down 60%. The maximum freshwater draft of 13.41 m for Neopanamax vessels was reduced by a foot at the end of April 2019 – maximum draft for ships of that size is about 15.2 m when … The Panama Canal concluded a long period of drought and is currently offering the Neopanamax ships its maximum draught of 50 feet (15.24 meters), thanks to water-saving measures and recent rains. An average of about seven ships a day use those locks. An intense drought has forced the Panama Canal Authority to impose draft limits on ships moving through its locks that means larger ships must pass through with less cargo, The Associated Press has reported. Drought Affects Panama Canal Shipping May 02, 2019 In this Dec. 3, 2018, photo, a Panama Canal worker docks the Chinese container ship Cosco at the Panama Canals' Cocoli Locks, in Panama … The Panama Canal Authority places the blame for the drought on the warming climate, saying in a statement its plans were an attempt to "mitigate climate change." In this April 21, 2019 photo, a cargo ship transits the Panama Canal in its way to the Atlantic Ocean, while tree trunks that used to be submerged are … The authority imposed the limits in February, as the drought took hold and levels in the two lakes that supply water to the canal began to fall. This April 21, 2019 photo, shows an aerial view of trees that used to be submerged but are now exposed due to the low water levels of Lake Gatún, on the Panama Canal… The country spent about $5.6 billion on the expansion, which was completed in … The canal has also earned Panama about $17 billion in fees and passage payments.