Just last fall, the Mississippi River’s water levels were much lower due to widespread drought throughout the United States. A parish community near New Orleans was warned last November that the lower, slower moving water meant saltwater had invaded their drinking water. Officials were worried about the extra sodium for people with high blood pressure and other health challenges.

And in mid-October, low water levels disrupted barge traffic and capacity. The Coast Guard reported that eight barges had run aground, getting stuck in sand and mud that they would have easily sailed over in 2021. Barges that were supposed to bring agricultural supplies up into the Midwest had to carry lower capacity, disrupting the supply chain last year. Low water levels also disrupted recreational activities as marinas saw low levels and cruise ships had to change routes to avoid running aground.


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