Drought in the US has created a host of near and long term consequences, and a survey of the planet indicates that this problem is more widespread than many had imagined. Eastern Europe is in serious trouble, The Danube river is alarmingly low, altogether dry in some places, exposing 60 year old wrecks, and the occasional unexploded bomb left over from the last great European conflict. Hydroelectric installations have been shut down, and Serbian ports are all but dry idling hundreds of workers. Even drinking water is now rationed in Bosnia. The catastrophe is no where near concluded, according to the latest climate guesswork.
2012 may well be remembered as a year of drought. In major wheat producers from the United States, Russia and the Ukraine droughts have caused significant reductions in cereal crops. In Australia and now Southern Europe, high temperatures and low rainfall may impact on crops in field.
"There is just no water. The situation is critical not only here on the lower Danube but also upriver in Hungary, Austria, Germany," said Ivan Ivanov, deputy chief of Bulgarian River Shipping. "Shipping costs are soaring, I don't even want to calculate our losses."
Branko Savic, the manager of a Danube shipping company in Serbia, described the drought as "a disaster". "Traffic on the Danube is practically non-existent. We are in dire need of enormous amounts of water, rain, or melting snow," he said.
"You see, when Germans make something it's for eternity," said fisherman Dragan Curovic, carefully navigating his boat down the wide river towards the rusty remains of the ship dynamited by retreating Nazi German forces six decades ago.
Still boasting a rotating canon platform as well as metal holders for shells, it has become an attraction for locals and tourists, its badly-damaged bow sticking up above the water in a hilly, wooded stretch of Europe's main waterway.
"Some people took home electric cables they found on the ship that were still good enough to use," Curovic said.
Last summer the Danube, which flows through 10 countries, caused widespread flooding in swathes of central Europe after rising to its highest level in decades.