Parana, the longest river in South America, is drying up
The Paraná River, which flows through Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina, of 4,880 kilometers, is located in south-central South America.
It is the second-longest river in South America, behind the Amazon; it used to carry 17,000 cubic meters/Second of water, but currently, it is reduced to 6,200 cubic meters/second.
In the language of the Brazilian tribes, Parana means “like the sea.” The river’s breadth justifies its name. However, the river’s flow has narrowed recently, and beaches have formed along the banks.
As a result, commercial shipping is on the verge of ceasing; fishers are depressed because the number of fish has decreased, and around 40 million individuals are concerned about their access to safe drinking water.
The adjoining canals are now waterless as the flow of the Parana River has decreased. Researchers are pointing out the current state of the Parana River as a great example of how devastating the effects of climate change and environmental degradation can be. Due to the recent drought, similar concerns are rising over the reduced water flow in the Colorado River in North America.
Originating from Brazil, the Parana River flows through Argentina via Paraguay and ends in the Atlantic Ocean. The longest river on the continent is the Amazon, with a length of about 7,000 kilometers. The drying up of the Parana River is having a significant negative impact on the Argentine economy.
Environmentalists are claiming deforestation and climate change are causing the river to dry up. The southern part of Brazil, where the Parana River originates, has the lowest rainfall in three years.
As a result, the water flow in Parana has decreased by one-third. Environmentalists have predicted that the drought in Parana could continue until 2022.
The Rio de la Plata is the basin that joins the Parana River with two other rivers, the Parana and the Paraguay and Uruguay, flowing through three countries. Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay are all part of this basin.
Geologist Carlos Ramonel said, “Panama is not only the longest river in Argentina, but it is also a great reservoir of biodiversity. It is also important for the country’s socio-economic infrastructural development.” Water shortages in Parana are hampering hydropower generation in both Argentina and Paraguay.
The river was Argentina’s primary waterway and the lifeblood of the country’s economy. However, as the water recedes, the ships’ floors become stuck to the ground, forcing them to carry just half of their load.
This river was responsible for transporting 80% of Argentina’s products. But now Commodities movement has to use land routes, which raises transportation costs and the price of goods.
As the water receded, the fish population declined, resulting in a livelihood crisis for the fishermen surrounding the vast river. Not only Argentina or Paraguay, but the whole world will also suffer from this Parana River crisis.
These two countries are among the top soybean exporting countries in the world. Drought in the Parana river has made it difficult to produce these agricultural products and take them to ports like Santa Fe, Mexico.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Argentine government has called for limiting water uses across the country.