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The weather effects on the structure of the Panama Canal

The weather effects on the structure of the Panama Canal

Panama Canal is an artificial bridge system used for vessel passage through regulating the level of water. To maintain the canal operating for years, the project requires fresh water to be supplied. Streams and rivers in this region provide the much need water whose flow is regulated by availability of a secondary reservoir that in turn has been secured by the tropical weather of the region that has ensured that the region receives enough rain water.

Although Panama Canal has continued to serve sailors and their vessels over the years, drastic weather changes have taken toll of the canal. El Niño event for example left it ugly marks on the canal. Since the end of the event level of water has dropped due to high evaporation. Despite efforts done to restore water capacity in the secondary reservoir the canal does not have enough water to adequately control operations of the canal.

The canal is mostly used during the dry seasons when the level of fresh water from rivers and streams is low. Consequently, ships (vessels) using the canal are required to reduce their cargo capacity to guarantee passage through the canal. This final move has been prompted by desperate efforts to keep the canal operational even after weather has hampered its effectiveness. The move has not been welcome by either voyage companies or local authorities because it has increased the cost of operation and decreased the reliability of the canal.

Poor management of natural resources around the Panama Canal resulted in drastic alteration of the natural ecosystem. Deforestation and destruction of natural vegetation exposed watershed and the water table, evaporation is high and the region has become drier. The government enacted legislations and measures to correct the previous mistakes. Some of the drastic measures have included stopping hydroelectric power production from the dams in 1999, expansion of researchers to increase storage capacity among other steps being taken to rehabilitate the environment and reestablish natural ground cover. However, to guarantee that the canal returns to its natural purposes some of the additional human activities that had emerged lately must be stopped to give room for rehabilitation processes. This way the canal can be expected to return to normalcy in the near future.