Water level of Japan's largest lake drops, affecting shipping operations

NHK -- Dec 05

The water level of Lake Biwa, which is Japan's largest lake, has plunged due to a lack of rain, causing trouble for some ship operators.

The lake covers an area of roughly 670 square kilometers. It supplies water to more than 14 million people in the Yodo River basin, which spans prefectures including Shiga, Kyoto and Osaka.

A shortage of rain since the summer has caused the lake's water level to drop. It was 69 centimeters below the benchmark as of 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday. That's 30 centimeters lower than the seasonal average.

Shiga Governor Mikazuki Taizo on Tuesday released the results of a survey the prefecture conducted last month on how the decline in water level has been affecting the fishing industry and tourism.

The survey found that the increased height difference between ships and piers at certain ports has made it difficult for people to embark and disembark and for cargo to be loaded and unloaded.

Some fishers have reported that their boats' propellers were damaged after hitting rocks and debris on the lake bottom.

Mikazuki said that there has not been any significant impact on the lives of the people of Shiga so far, but the prefectural government will keep a close eye on the situation.

The governor repeated his request for people to save water.


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