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Low water levels force Elbe’s historic paddle steamers to a halt

Dresden’s famous fleet of paddle steamers will be out of action until further notice, due to extremely low water levels on the River Elbe.

Traditional paddle steamer and pleasure boat tours on the River Elbe have been called off due to exceptionally low water levels. Customers who have pre-booked can either receive a refund or re-book. On Tuesday afternoon, water levels had dropped to 71 centimeters, compared to the usual two meters.

Low water levels are affecting the entire state of Saxony, with lack of melting snow among the causes. “Now, only rain can help,” was the message from the state’s environmental office.

This is a truly exceptional situation, since the nine paddle steamers are in fact intended for use in shallow water. High water levels are much more often to blame for putting the boats out of action. The time out will be used to carry out cosmetic improvements to the fleet.

ot/ak (dpa, mdr)