ASUNCION, Paraguay: The Paraguay River experienced the steepest decline in its water levels in more than 117 years on September 23.
Officials are now speculating on how the low waters could harm the nation's economy.
Government data indicated that the Paraguay River has fallen .78 inches below 2020's earlier record figure.
Directorate of Meteorology and Hydrology's observations manager, Oscar Hugo Rodrguez Salcedo, noted that the current drop was the steepest to have been observed in the capital city Asuncion since 1904.
"The possible collapse (of navigation), if it continues this way, would come in about three weeks because there are very critical stages all along the river," said Esteban Dos Santos, who heads the association of maritime companies, as quoted by the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, the Ministry for Public Works has ordered that vital sites along the river be dredged to ensure passage of ships having a draft of ten feet. Presently, navigability is only supported for seven-foot draft vessels at important routes.
"Our fishermen aren't catching like before because of the reduction," according to Remanso-based fish seller Eulalia Martnez, reported the Associated Press.
Martnez noted that a drop in the river occurred last year, leading to $300 million in losses, as boats could not navigate the river.