The German government has authorized the use of strategic oil reserves in order to mitigate the consequences of a record drought that has hit the Rhine area in the last few weeks. Thanks to the record-low water levels in the river, the nation's internal deliveries of oil have been severely disrupted, says a report by Phys.org.
Months of scarce precipitation and hot sunny weather has driven the water level to such a low mark that German barges have either dramatically reduced their load in order to simply stay afloat or halted their service altogether. On Friday, Cologne reported a water level of just 73 centimeters.
According to German law, the government is authorized to tap the strategic reserve of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to "relieve a local crisis situation."
This is only the fourth time the government has done it in 40 years, Wirtschaftswoche magazine says.
As for the "local" part, the affected region stretches from Hesse to Frankfurt and then to Baden-Wuerttemberg, bordering the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Switzerland.
According to Phys.org, German ingustrial giants Thyssenkrupp and BASF had to cut back production dut to "limited deliveries" or raw materials, while RWE energy group is struggling to supply the Hamm power plant with coal.
Other rivers have suffered because of the drought too, the report says, but without providing further details.