BUENOS AIRES, July 20 (Reuters) – The Argentine government has urged citizens to limit water consumption in a bid to ease pressure on the Parana River, a key grain artery at its lowest in 77 years, a situation that hinders shipments of grains including soybeans and wheat.
A government advisory group called on people to “save water,” store rainwater for irrigation and avoid burning waste to prevent forest fires in the wetlands around the river delta.
“Water levels in Parana are at their lowest since 1944, which requires a commitment from everyone to attend and act preventively and responsibly against this situation,” the group said in a statement Monday evening.
The Parana, which originates in southern Brazil, crosses Argentina to the coast near Buenos Aires. It is the transport route for 80% of the country’s agricultural exports and a source of drinking water, irrigation and energy.
However, due to a prolonged shortage of rainfall in Brazil, water levels in the Parana have dropped dramatically, affecting the amount of cargo that can be carried by ships during the height of the corn export season and Argentinian soybeans.
On Saturday, the government announced a $ 10.4 million relief fund to mitigate the impact of low water levels. Read more
On the banks of the Parana are important towns such as Rosario, Parana and Santa Fe. Rosario is the main agro-industrial center and river port of Argentina, one of the main global suppliers of soybeans, corn and wheat on world markets.
Reporting by Maximilian Heath; Editing by Adam Jourdan and David Evans
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