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Dec 7, 2012 | 17:29 GMT

Drought Affects the Mississippi and Missouri River Basins

Stratfor's graphic of the day features a standout geopolitical map, chart, image or data visualization reflecting global and regional trends and events.
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Mississippi and Missouri River Basins

The drought affecting the Midwestern United States has increased tensions between water demand in the Missouri River basin and transport demand along the Mississippi River. Mississippi River barge operators and shipping groups asked U.S. President Barack Obama and the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Nov. 27 to declare a state of emergency on the Mississippi River. The low river levels are thought to be caused by the drought and the congressionally directed project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the flow of the Missouri River. The restoration of the full flow of the Missouri into the Mississippi would require either approval from Congress or a state of emergency decree by Obama. This would help to begin raising the levels of the Mississippi River south of the confluence, although the actual effects would not be seen immediately. Representatives from Missouri River basin states have said increasing the flow of the Missouri is unlawful and have submitted an opposing request to deny the declaration of a state of emergency. Predicting the extent of closures and restrictions to the Mississippi River without government action would require predicting the weather, and enough rain could render the entire debate moot. But extended forecasts indicate that water levels could remain low for the next few months, which means that increased restrictions and closures are likely.

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