Q – We were going to book a river cruise with another couple on our street until we found your site and started reading about the water issues – something our “former” travel agent had never discussed with us. We were concerned enough to click the link to your cruise site, which is terrific by the way,  and now we’re set for a cruise to Italy and Spain on Oceania. So I guess my question is exactly what is being done a major scale to prevent future flooding along the Danube? Isn’t global warming making this worse instead of better. It seems like the lines and most travel agents are not warning people about flooding and it keeps happening without any news that I can find that it is getting better.

A – You are implying that it is getting worse and that data is not conclusive. What we know is that Europe is suffering from serious heat records during mid-summer with record temperatures. But flooding is more indirectly related to climate issues. The rate at which the ice caps on the mountains surrounding Europe’s major rivers melt is the single biggest variable. One can conclude that rising temperatures are causing a rise in the early melting of snow but after that it is speculative. Your question as to what the communities along the Danube are doing is a good one. The answer is largely nothing. A real effort would require serious and expensive damming projects, something these communities are generally against. Europe’s rivers flow through some of the continent’s most affluent areas. If there were fewer boats plying the rivers in ten years, we’re not sure that this would be seen as a serious setback by these communities. Day tourists are not really popular in terms of the revenue they generate.