Low Water - Slow Boats

Bruce Krasting's picture


The following pictures are of the Mississippi from this year and last. The 2012 drought has lowered the river level.






The water level is down as much as 40 feet from a year ago.



Its so dry, grass is growing on the sandbanks.



The low water is raising hell with the river traffic. Some headlines:







How big a deal is this? Big. ABC put the potential hit to the economy at $300Mn a day. As many as 400k jobs are in play. The have a quote from the Army Corps of Engineers suggesting the problem is not going away anytime soon.



I was surprised to learn that 90% of the nation's waterborne commercial deliveries are on the Mississippi.


The Army Corps got its forecast of "no relief" from NOAA. The 30 day forecast shows a continuation of the dry conditions in the center of the country. There is no reason to be optimistic looking at the 90 day outlook.




The only winners in this story are the rail-roads. Everyone else will pay a bit more. In some cases there might be shortages (rock salt/chemicals up north). Global grain, corn and bean supplies may get disrupted. Add another few percent to the already skyrocketing price of raw food stocks.




Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
DeltaDawn's picture

Bruce, thanks for your informative posts. Please watch "Why in the world are they spraying?" It needs to get out there.

cynicalskeptic's picture

Wait until Greenland melts and sea levels rise another 24 feet..... you'll have a whole inland sea in place of the Mississippi

at the rate things are going that should only take another couple years

Money Squid's picture

Water is over rated.

akak's picture

Not only that, it's illiquid.

SwingForce's picture

Greece is not Iceland   lol....

SwingForce's picture

GREECE has long ago sold the naming rights of its country to Goldman. You are not dealing with a country, but a LEECH. You are not bailing out a country, but a LEECH. You are not paying citizens, you are paying the holders of their debts. You are not paying Mastercard, you are paying Discover who has offered a 0% low introductory rate which will never get paid, but not to report the facts until Visa comes in and pays off Discover. 

Follow me to a bar on an island this summer, the bartender says "Yeah, the politicians screwed up the books, but you can still drink for free if you leave a big enuf tip." (He's really the owner, and he pays cash at Costco for the booze).

Greece, oops, can't use that copyrighted word for SINKHOLE of Money, but the Citizens who live there have effectively cut off the hands that feed them, for good cause. stay in the Euro, let the banksterz play their silly reindeer games of asset reallocation from the left pocket to the right, life will go on once they suck themselves to death. 

JohnKozac's picture

The Middle Class is squeezed fro all directions:


'Many in middle class say they are doing worse financially'



Lumberjack's picture

There must be how many hundreds of thousand if not (millions) of acres in CRP in the midwest. There has been flooding issues along the major riverways over the last few years and problems with the dikes holding the water back.


We have problems with energy matters regarding useless renewables (used for baseload!!!) . So I now propose a novel idea. Make a series of very large and deep lakes which can be used as flood control, reliable hydroelectric generation and pumped storge. (go long on Catepiller). The earth escavated for these lakes could then be used to build new and better dykes along all of the waterways that need shoring up (go long BNSF and other engineering/construction/transport companies).

Build a series of canals/pipelines for the purpose of irrigation and municipal use.




snblitz's picture

Governer Reagan (in California long ago) proposed the very solution you suggest.

Planners of that era knew what was coming and planned for the growth of water and other demand 40 years ago.  No need to tear up the landscape. California is full of natural features that can be converted to lakes and hydro.

But instead we invented make believe creatures and elevated them above mankind.

Lumberjack's picture

I see the McKibbenites are junking us. The other positives are lakes for recreation, increased land values (shore front and other properties near those lakes), tourism, enhanced fisheries, water for forest fire control, flood control, fish farming, reliable electrical baseload, enhanced agricultural production, construction, jobs direct and indirect and on and on.


Would someone want to live next to an (unreliable) wind farm or hundreds of acres of solar panels (where the property value would plummet and electricity rates skyrocket? or would they prefer a nice lake. 

Hydro is the way.


hannah's picture

i guess this screws up the old joke...'...and its deep too...!'

Moe Howard's picture


It will be dry out until it rains, and then it will be wet, and sometimes flood. It is not unusual, it is priced in, the weather happens, we didn't start up on earth 20 years ago. No news here.



Freddie's picture

But Moe - we did not have HAARP or chemtrails 20 years ago.  HAARP has actually been around since 1990.  Anyone know what they really use it for? 

Element's picture

Why don't you look at the HAARP website, the uses of HAARP are explained very clearly, in layman's terms that even a simpleton can follow.

phyuckyiu's picture

Apparently we now use it to send Hurricanes at GOP Conventions.

hbjork1's picture

HAARP is one o te programs which were conceived after the first IGY (International Geophysical Year) in 1956.  Simple calculation and inconclusive temperature indicated that the climate was changing.  (Clearing forest and fossil fuel discharge?)  But the data had too many holes to be certain of anything.   Since the ionized layers of the atmosphere can reflect or absorbe various frequencies of eithr sunshine or "earthshine", it isn't suprising that there is exotic experimentation to determine what thos layers are doing.

That is just one of the many programs to find out how bad the situation is and where it is really going to go. 

Element's picture

More idiotic HAARP bullshit.

Dude, from the mid 1950s to the early 1980s scientists the world over were warning that the Earth was probably tipping into a new global glacial cycle (these typically last 100k to 125k years, BTW). 

And now any low-brow moron who sees a funny-shape cloud says it HAARP .. or chemtrails!

It's beyond idiotic! ...  what a useless generation of dumbfucks.

Salt's picture

Does it's impact on the economy say anything to you Moe? Especially given the current state we're in?

Moe Howard's picture

No. We have Central Planning by BigGov aka FedGov. All is good.

It's priced in.

Rainman's picture

excellent power of positive thinking, man

phyuckyiu's picture

LOL. (LOL again for the junks).

lamont cranston's picture

Does anyone from LA know how low water affects the Morganza Spillway/Atchafayala Basin? Any chance of the Mississippi diverting like it almost did back in '73?

Hannibal's picture

Disaster Capitalism, The Chicago Boys can fix anything (wink,wink).

Stuck on Zero's picture

And so we all agree ...?


Eddy Vluggen's picture

Who's having a hard time with numbers?

89% of all waterborne shipments in 2007 is in shallow draft - the way the picture shows it, it is suggested that 100% of those shipments are on the Missisipi, by cirkeling the 89% and claiming that ALL those shipments are on that river.

Stop massaging the numbers, or GTFO

YungHungAndLegal's picture

This drought will end very quickly once Duke and Scarlette find Cobra Commanders GS funded weather dominator

Nojak's picture

Mama Earthie sees the glaciers all a meltin'....cuts back on the Mighty Missisup dischargin' into the Golf to keep it nice & balanced, ya'll. Homeostais, Bitchez!

Widowmaker's picture

Who the fuck cares about food and water when capitaljism is holding the environment hostage?  Or perhaps it's still fashionable to deny/detract from this...

Cry me a fucking river - racketeering Inc can fix this by squeezing tears from the thwarted and monetized common good.

Lohn Jocke's picture

Big Brother will fix it. All he asks for in exchange is your civil liberties.

Freddie's picture

What civil liberties?   Americans and other western countries gave those up for a TV clicker and HD. 

Seer's picture

Wow!  Just had a strange and unusual reflex (for me), I up-arrowed you!

CrimsonAvenger's picture

yeah, but to be fair, the picture quality is AWESOME.

Freddie's picture

Well 3-D is coming so the serfs can be brainwashed in high def 3-D.   The same message over and over again - "Obama - good" and "White man - evil & stupid." 

John_Coltrane's picture

I'm holding out for 4-D since I've never really understood a curved space-time in a fundamental way.

Seer's picture

And then the Fruitless Freddie in you comes back out...  sigh...

Acorn10012's picture

Peoples gots to be who dey is.

Winston of Oceania's picture

So Buffet buys up the railroads and then unleashes his weather machine to dry up the ol'Miss; Brilliant! And to think that I assumed the Ensure had gone to his head...

Seer's picture

Hitler used trains didn't he?

But... I think that most of that water traffic is export, and, well, exports are dropping.  So, it's kind of a self-balancing thing.  Even though water transport is more efficient, it's trains that reach more destinations (within continents), and I suspect that as things revert to more internal and localized trade that railroads will be more in line (pardon the pun): well, eventually they'll stop running, but I figure that TPTB really, REALLY need them.

WAY before Buffet had his hands into rail I'd thought of investing.  I opted to stay out of rail because I couldn't lend any weight/energy to help prop up a failing paradigm: yeah, principle over greed, I'm cursed that way...

JOYFUL's picture

Because the notion of a federal government controlling the distribution of food thru rationing is so inconceivable to Merikans, few, if any of them have made plans to deal with such an event-u-al-ity - probably even fewer than have made any purchase of precious metals...

Within six months of the forthcoming "election" therefore, many millions of Merikans will be surprised to see that they have surrendered most of the freedoms they were born into, because they are now dependent upon an usurping power for their daily sustenance...

When crop insurance programs are terminated in the spring of 2013, due to the lack of tax revenues available after the de-industrialization of Amerika, better than half of Merikan grain farmers will be finished. Few of the smaller livestock producers will survive the low cattleprice\high feed cost crunch if weather conditions this coming winter are anything other than optimal....Eliminate the kulaks.

Manipulation of weather patterns for political ends has been a long standing feature of the militarization of Merikas' science programs, which are now fully under the kontrol of a millenialist kult seeking the death\enslavement of everyone in the formerly free world. Controlling access to health care, food, and arms are the key tenets to their program...which is a lot further along than yu may think.

Just a friendly reminder. One bad harvest is a game changer...but then, yu knew that! http://agfax.com/2012/08/21/midwest-crop-tour-estimates-low-yield-number... ...only the beginning?

Seer's picture

I don't know about calling the time-frame, but it's a certainty that our centralized food system will be unable to meet demand (well, any increased demands won't be met).

"Few of the smaller livestock producers will survive the low cattleprice\high feed cost crunch if weather conditions this coming winter are anything other than optimal."

I've been a follower of grass farming (for livestock!) for quite a while now, and I can tell you that well-managed grassfed operations are doing FAR better than the more conventional operations: with folks practicing mob grazing doing the best.  Now, I'm not saying that they're doing well/good, just that they're doing much better than others who are doing poorly.  My grass is still growing (struggling, but still growing- bigger problem is weeds [proper management is to mow them]).

Small-scale is the ONLY way, it's been proven over the course of MANY centuries.

John_Coltrane's picture

Distributed systems are always more stable-that's the design of the internet, for example.  If one node (farm, crop) goes down there are redundancies built in.  With modern monoculture agriculture  and lack of genetic crop diversity, we're just one major mutated pest/bacteria away from complete disaster like the Irish potatoe crop failure.  Too many eggs in one basket, quite literally.

disabledvet's picture

They already do control it moron. Read the article: "they're called the Army Corps of Engineers"...and you can throw the Department of Agriculture while you're at it. Of course someone forgot "Chief Blue Sky of the Open Water"...maybe at the next Convocation of the next Congress they'll try that out.

Freddie's picture

Americans are idiots brainwashed by TV and Hollywood.  If you watch it - you support them.  They control the stupid sheep.   Fox is as bad as the rest. 

Freddie's picture

LOL!  Junked by retards who watch the elites TV.  Keep supporting The Matrix you stupid serfs. 

Seer's picture

Aw, I feel exceptionally nice today... TWO (disclosed, one undisclosed) up-arrows to Freddie! :-)

onlooker's picture

Some of the weather predictors are looking at a 5 year drought. I was in East Texas yesterday looking at a tractor. This guy raises chickens for a major food company. He is in the red with his operation as are most in the area. Milk producers in the area are closing down after having 50 to 75 years of operation. Besides everyone going broke, the most interesting thing he said was that when he was young (maybe 30-40 years ago) there were 100 herd dairy farms everywhere. Now it is 1000 to 6000 head dairies. Banks are not loaning money for the farmers, dairy cow, beef cow, and grain farmers. Many have folded. His strategy is to try to survive as others go out of business. Maybe like a carpenter waiting for the housing market to come back.


I think the banks will end up owning a lot of this area, much like the Depression.

Freddie's picture

I think the banks will end up owning a lot of this area, much like the Depression

This is part of the plan.  Control the food.  Think Africa like Hussein.  Think S African white farmers being murdered or worse.

Think the Soviet Union and starving 6 million Ukrainians while the NY Times and Pete Seeger praised Joe Stalin.