Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the The Daily Wire. The author of this post is Charlotte Pence Bond.
While western states are experiencing drought, the sometimes less-noticed Mississippi River is getting hit hard by low water levels and it's already impacting shipping movements.
The water levels in the Mississippi River are at their lowest they have been in decades, according to The Weather Channel, leading to issues with shipments and the availability of drinking water.
Some of the water that is getting to the start of the river in Louisiana is reportedly letting salt water get into the Mississippi River from the Gulf of Mexico, which could impact the drinking water, The Washington Post reported. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has had to take swift measures, saying it would construct a sediment construction to keep additional salt water from going up the river.
"In Plaquemines Parish, there's many freshwater intakes for municipal, industrial uses and the salt water can cause corrosion to pipes and can cause a change in the taste of the water for municipal use, so we try to, that's why we're involved to mitigate that,"
David Ramirez, chief of the River Engineering Branch of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, told Fox 8 News last month.
Low rainfall in the Ohio River Valley and the Upper Mississippi are apparently leading to the low levels and stopping commercial movement and river cruises at multiple locations below Illinois, according to The Wall Street Journal. The costs to send materials have also gone up more than twice their amount in a span of weeks.
George Flaggs, the mayor of Vicksburg, Mississippi, hasn't seen the river this low in nearly 70 years.
"It's definitely having an impact on the local economy, because the commercial use of this river has almost completely stopped,"
Flaggs recently told WAPT-TV.
As the National Park Service reports, the Mississippi River is a major part of the economy in the upper Midwest of the United States. Barges and tows ship around 175 million tons of cargo every year on the upper part of the river.
"America is going to shut down if we shut down," Mike Ellis, chief executive of American Commercial Barge Line LLC, said, per the Journal. The Corps' Mississippi Valley Division's spokeswoman, Lisa Parker, said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has even been scooping out parts of the river to make it lower for commercial ships to start passing through again.
"When the water gets low enough, commerce starts to slow. Commerce is restricted and it turns into an extremely difficult environment to operate," Austin Golding, president of Golding Barge Line, told WAPT. "This will actually affect us in a very negative way. We have to have less cargo on our barges and less tonnage moving. It affects our revenues."
"We need the barges fully loaded and our tows pushing as many barges as possible to be as economically viable as possible,"