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Water levels on the Rhine 2019

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That is a good question. Climate change could have a long-term effect on river cruising on the rivers that have free-flowing stretches. Experts are debating the change to the rivers, but it has also been mentioned in conjuction with barge shipping. River cruising is commercially speaking a small business and therefore does not really come up in discussion around here (in Germany). In my opinion there is a commercial risk in running your itineraries entirely on 135m ships. You have to be logistically cleverly equipped to do it with minimum financial loss. On the Elbe it is another story as there the ships are designed for the low water levels. But this year has proven to send even such careful consideration down the drain.

 

Back to smaller ships - or staying with that policy of not going up in size like CroisiEurope has done - is an answer. But dredging is another answer that is contemplated for the Rhine. Ferry owners are shouting for help. Barge owners are shouting for help. Empty petrol tanks over the next few weeks will make citizens shout at politicians probably.

 

As you have put 2019 in the thread title: nobody has any clue what the weather will bring in the next season. Temperatures will partly decide on when snow melt happens in the Spring. Early, late? Hardly any?

 

While we contemplate, shout and complain, mother nature will continue to show us what she thinks of us humans. I would say from her expressions that she is not happy.

 

notamermaid

 

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Notamermaid, thought you  might be interested in  a Web site detailing proposed measures along the Danube between Vilshofen and Straubing, regarding flood prevention and river traffic. One of the proposasl is to deepen the navigation channel by 20 cm and try to have a constant depth of 250 cm.

 

https://www.lebensader-donau.de/

 

PS. Before anyone askes, this will not happen before Christmas 20XX, German planning permission take a very  l o n g   time. At least your grandkids could enjoy a river cruise from A to B without swapping boats..

Edited by G.M.T.

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11 minutes ago, G.M.T. said:

Notamermaid, thought you  might be interested in  a Web site detailing proposed measures along the Danube between Vilshofen and Straubing, regarding flood prevention and river traffic. One of the proposasl is to deepen the navigation channel by 20 cm and try to have a constant depth of 250 cm.

 

https://www.lebensader-donau.de/

 

PS. Before anyone askes, this will not happen before Christmas 20XX, German planning permission take a very  l o n g   time. At least your grandkids could enjoy a river cruise from A to B without swapping boats..

Thanks. Will have a look at that in detail with a bit more time on my hands. Here on the Rhine they want to continue with what the Romans started: blasting away part of the reef crossing the river bed near Kaub, as well as clearing gravel. The aim for the gorge is relatively modest. Deepening of the navigation channel from 1.90m to 2.10m. Twenty centimetres that are important for barge traffic but that could actually prove crucial for the 135m river cruise ships in times of drought. But has you have said, this will be ready by 20XX. The financial burden will be less than on the Danube, but the planning and decision making process will be loooong as well. Not speaking of getting tons of granite under water out of the way.

 

At least the UNESCO cannot really complain that much about something they cannot see, deepening the navigation channel should be less an eyesore on the radars than a bridge overground in the Middle Rhine valley would be. :classic_wink:

 

notamermaid

 

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7 hours ago, notamermaid said:

As you have put 2019 in the thread title: nobody has any clue what the weather will bring in the next season. Temperatures will partly decide on when snow melt happens in the Spring. Early, late? Hardly any?

 

While we contemplate, shout and complain, mother nature will continue to show us what she thinks of us humans. I would say from her expressions that she is not happy.

 

notamermaid

 

You write as if it is the timing of the snow melt that counts. What if there is very little snow this winter (i.e. a continuation of the drought)? That would wreak further havoc on those that rely on the rivers for any commercial purposes.

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13 minutes ago, gnome12 said:

You write as if it is the timing of the snow melt that counts. What if there is very little snow this winter (i.e. a continuation of the drought)? That would wreak further havoc on those that rely on the rivers for any commercial purposes.

Indeed. Less snowfall in the Alps and high hills this winter could make matters worse in the Spring. And when all the river cruise ships are in the harbours in January and February the barges will continue to struggle if the rainfall continues to be insufficient in the winter months. Whereas for river cruise ships 60cm at Kaub for example is a better figure than 50cm, for barge traffic this means little difference. For commercial shipping even 100cm is still a low water level.

 

notamermaid

 

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We swapped ships between Aschach and Nuremburg and it really did not detract from our Budapest to Amsterdam trip.   We travelled with Travelmarvel who had only two identical ships, but either good luck or careful planning meant they met in the middle of each journey and were able to transfer passengers from one to the other.   One ship stayed on the Danube, the other stayed on the Main and Rhine. Maybe not perfect, but better than the variations some lines imposed.  

 

Maybe the lesson to be learned from this season is for all companies to have very well planned alternatives to keep the trip close to the advertised schedule.

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I think over the years, high/low water and strikes the operators do aim to follow the schedules, but it is when bus travel is done for long trips and hotels that they cannot deliver the product/services that people have paid for, there are objections.

Nevertheless not much can be done about the issues and its buyer beware, albeit some do offer some compensation.

Premium river cruising especially the longer ones are not cheap add flights, some travel over 30 hours to Europe, people embark with high expectations.

It is a lovely way to travel when all goes well and we are repeat cruisers many times over so we take the risk....to a point. Glad you enjoyed your trip.    

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