http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/15/13295072-drought-sends-mississippi-into-uncharted-territory?lite&__utma=238145375.1567516367.1338934519.1338934519.1345641826.2&__utmb=2381453188.8.131.525641826&__utmc=238145375&__utmx=-&__utmz=238145375.1345641826.2.2.utmcsr=aol|utmccn=(organic)|utmcmd=organic|utmctr=mississippi%20closed&__utmv=238145375.|8=Earned%20By=msnbc%7Cus%20news%7Cenvironment=1^12=Landing%20Content=External=1^13=Landing%20Hostname=www.msnbc.msn.com=1^30=Visit%20Type%20to%20Content=Earned%20to%20External=1&__utmk=161032574 The low water levels mean that barge companies have to lighten their load by about 25 percent so the barges ride higher in the water, reducing whats known as the barges draught. That means each tow boat is moving less cargo than usual even though it takes up the same amount of fuel to burn and the same amount of manpower, said Ed Henleben, senior operations manager for Ingram Barge Co. in St. Louis. Follow @NBCNewsUS Already this summer, there are been 15 to 20 cases of barges running aground, according to Steve Jones, the Army Corps of Engineers Mississippi River navigation manager. Some cases have stalled river traffic for as much at three days. At this point in an average summer, thered be only about eight or 10, Jones said. And as the water drops, the river channel narrows. In some places, the Mississippi is a one-way river as barges heading north have to wait for traffic headed south, adding to the costly delays. The result: Millions of dollars in higher shipping costs. The products we tow, that product costs more, said Golding. Somebodys got to come up with that cost. Economists say ultimately, it will be the consumer. Some markets such as spot markets for agricultural products will be immediately impacted by increased transportation costs, said Donald Sweeney of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Costs of all products that use the river for transportation will have be more expensive. Just another impact of the change in climate that we are now seeing.