The Rhine level is currently extremely low: in Emmerich in North Rhine-Westphalia, the value has already reached zero. The Rhine has also sunk in Cologne and Düsseldorf.
Cologne – The Rhine level has been keeping people in NRW busy for a few weeks. The fact that the level of the river, which is more than 1200 kilometers long, is falling in the current season is actually nothing special – but a particularly dry spring with extremely little precipitation in 2022 ensured that the Rhine is approaching historic lows in many places. An overview of the current situation.
Rhine level: Cologne is heading for a record value – as it was last in October 2018
In Cologne, for example, the level on August 16 at 4:30 p.m. was just 71 centimeters – and is therefore only a small distance away from the previous record value of 67 centimeters from October 2018. The city had already warned about the low level of the Rhine because, for example, World War II shells could be washed up as a result – and an end to this situation does not seem to be in sight at the moment.
Rhine level Düsseldorf: level at around 30 centimeters
In the NRW state capital of Düsseldorf, things look even more dramatic when you look at the bare figures. The record for the low level there is 23 centimeters, also from October 2018. On August 16 at 3:45 p.m. it was just 32 centimeters. Here, too, a new record could fall in the coming days.
Bonn: Rhine level below one meter – when can I cross the Rhine?
A similar picture in Bonn; there the level on August 12 was only 94 centimeters. In Bad Honnef (93 centimetres) a similar value is reached, but the flagpole has not yet been reached by a long way. In many places the Rhine level is already so low.
Rhine level also low in Rhineland-Palatinate – Kaub at just over 30 centimetres
Away from NRW, too, people have to struggle with the low Rhine level. The water level at Kaub between Mainz and Koblenz, which is important for shipping on the Rhine, is still at a low level. According to the Federal Waterways and Shipping Administration (WSV), it was 32 centimeters on Tuesday afternoon and should range between 31 and 34 centimeters in the coming days.
What is the Rhine level, what does it indicate?
When it is said that the Rhine level is at 0 centimetres, this does not mean that the river has been completely drained or that it can be crossed on foot. Because water levels are not to be confused with the lowest point in the river.
The so-called fairways, i.e. the aisles in which the ships travel, are significantly deeper than the water level.
The water level shows the difference between the water surface and the so-called zero level. This point does not have to be at the lowest point of the river.
Emmerich: The Rhine level has already reached the zero centimeter limit
While other cities are still heading for “absolute zero”, this has already been achieved in Emmerich. Shortly before the Dutch border, it reached exactly 0 centimeters – also a historic value and significantly lower than the 7 centimeters that had previously held this record.
Rhine level extremely low – what are the consequences and consequences for shipping?
Cargo and passenger ships in particular have been struggling with low water for weeks. Inland waterway skippers must take the draft of the ship into account when loading their cargo. When the water levels are low, they can carry less freight – at some point the transport becomes uneconomical. At the current water level in Kaub, for example, a ship that would otherwise transport around 4,000 tons of cargo could still carry a maximum of 1,000 tons. (mon with dpa)