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New reservoir to secure more passages through the Panama Canal

The Panama Canal is to be upgraded for future periods of drought. The project could take around six years and cost around US$1.6bn.

One of the world’s most important waterways suffered badly last year due to a prolonged drought. Due to the lack of rain, passages had to be significantly reduced. A new reservoir is now being planned on the River Indio in order to have sufficient water reserves available in the future.

Ricaurte Vasquez, head of the ACP canal authority, announced that the aim is to enable 36 passages per day throughout. In the best-case scenario, a maximum of 40 passages have been possible up to now; during the drought, this figure had fallen to 22 with draught restrictions in place at the same time. The situation only eased again recently due to heavy rainfall. From 5 August, the ACP intends to allow 35 ships per day to pass through again.

New reservoir for Panama Canal costs US$1.6bn dollars

The authority assumes that the billion-dollar construction of a new water reservoir can be completed after six years. The costs are estimated to be at least US$1.2bn for the work on the canal, plus a further US$400m for the surrounding communities. The network of artificial lakes in the canal’s catchment area is to be expanded with another reservoir.

The canal, which was opened 100 years ago and expanded in 2016 with larger Neopanamax locks, is one of the most important waterways in the world. It connects the Atlantic Ocean with the Pacific Ocean via the shortest route. Around 14,000 ships pass through the locks every year.

Tugboat Panama Canal, Panama Canal, Corvus Energy

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