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Panama Canal considers new reservoir to help maintain water levels

The Panama Canal Authority (ACP) is reported to be considering the construction of a new reservoir to prevent the reoccurrence of the recent draft and passage restrictions force upon it because of a prolonged lack of rain.

The new reservoir would improve reliability could be ready within four to five years of construction starting.

However, several regulatory and social hurdles would first need to be overcome.

The ACP has been considering a number of potential long-term solutions to bolster the resilience of the key shipping route

Currently, the daily transit allowance is 32, which should increase to 33 by July 11th and 34 by July 22nd.

A new reservoir could offer an estimated equivalent of 11 transits’ worth of water. However, the cost would be only a little shy of $1bn. The so-called Rio Indio project would require two preliminary actions by the government. One would be to remove legal restrictions on the construction of reservoirs in the country, while the second would define the watershed boundaries so ACP can control the territory where the reservoir would be sited.

The Rio Indio reservoir’s storage capacity would be sufficient to guarantee water supply for 55% of the population. But would require extensive collaboration with communities that would be impacted by its construction.