River Flow and Its Impacts

Authored by: Vikram M. Mehta

Natural Decadal Climate Variability

Print publication date:  April  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781466554528
eBook ISBN: 9781315374482
Adobe ISBN:


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In 1971 CE and 1972 CE, the Rhine River flow decreased 20%–40% below its long-term average flow in some stretches of the river due to droughts. This low-flow condition resulted in reduced loads on barges plying the river and increased need for storage of goods at ports because of slower transportation. On the upper Rhine River in Germany, the reduced load restrictions were in force for 300 days in 1971 CE. Considerable amounts of raw or inadequately treated sewage were disposed off in the Rhine, which, combined with the very low flow condition, led to significant water quality deterioration of the middle and upper Rhine River. Along the Rhine and some other rivers in western and central Europe, crop production also suffered in these years due to impacts of the low-flow conditions on irrigation. Thus, 1971 CE and 1972 CE were among the worst years in terms of river navigation, water quality, and river-water-dependent irrigation along the Rhine and other affected rivers in Europe. *

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