Water is scarce in Latin America

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Two bodies of water disappeared, one in Chile and the other in Colombia. The main culprits are climate change and illegal mining

Water is scarce in Latin America

The bleak images, captured by Nasa satellites and local authorities, show how the Aculeo Lagoon in Chile and the Sambingo River in Colombia dried up. Nowadays, where before both bodies of water were found, dry mud and desolation can be seen.

Leer en español: El agua escasea en Latinoamérica

The disappearance of the lagoon and the river have caused indignation and concern, since they show that we are closer to facing a water crisis and an apocalyptic scenario.

What happened to Aculeo Lagoon?

Just two hours from Santiago, there is the Aculeo Lagoon. A very popular place to spend the summer days, where the lagoon reached up to six meters deep. Unfortunately, these days were left behind and in the memory of those who visited it, as a NASA satellite revealed that the body of water dried up and now there is dry mud pit with vegetation.

The Earth observation satellite of Nasa Landsat 8, according to Nasa Earth Observatory, recorded the drought of the lagoon throughout the year. Although in some moments, during 2019, the lagoon had water, at this moment it is dry.

The reasons are several and range from droughts since 2010 to climate change. According to El Espectador, the lack of rain and the increase in the use of water in the region led to the drying of this water body.

Read also: Greta Thunberg: the environmental influencer we need

The Sambingo River in Colombia

Desolation and drought, that's what the soldiers and officers of the Third Army Division, supported by the Air Force and the Prosecutor's Office, saw when they visited the Sambingo River to combat the illegal mining that occurs in the region. As recorded by Semana, instead of heavy machinery and people looking for gold, they found a completely dry channel.

The river was one of the most important tributaries of the Colombian Pacific and its flow became so powerful that it was the protagonist in a winter tragedy that took place in December 2014 and ended with the lives of five people.

Unlike Laguna de Aculeo, the main cause of the disappearance of the river is the illegal mining that according to Semana left earnings of 3 billion pesos per month. A tiny number if one measures the environmental and economic impact that will produce the loss of the Sambingo. The other cause of the river drought is the phenomenon of the child, whose consequences have been more serious due to climate change.


LatinAmerican Post | Marcela Peñaloza
Translated from "El agua escacea en Latinoamérica"