Lake Titicaca water level drops 2.6 ft this year

Water levels on the world’s highest navigable lake have dropped 81 cm (2.6 ft) in just seven months, since April this year, according to the Binational Lake Titicaca Authority, ALT.

The lake’s water level rises and falls frequently, as can be seen in the graph. The sharper fluctuations are caused by heavy rains, and by droughts in years when there has been an El Niño.
Although the El Niño weather phenomenon this year, November through January, is expected to be mild to moderate, it does mean much less rainfall for the southern Andes.

Over the past four years, the seasonal rainfall and the flow into Lake Titicaca from the feeder rivers has not been sufficient to compensate for the loss of water from evaporation and the discharge of water from the lake into the Desaguadero River.

The result is that every year since 2005, the water levels have not recovered the previous year’s level. The sharpest decline in recovery levels were recorded after the rainy season of 2004-2005 and in 2008-2009.

In a press statement issued in La Paz Nov.12, ALT calls on both Bolivia and Peru to continually update information on all rainfalls and temperatures in the basin as well as the water volumes of rivers and feeder lakes that flow into Titicaca.

The institution also suggests providing the population with adequate information, considering an eventual need –if the water level drops as much as 30 cm more– to apply certain emergency measures, which would include closing sluice gates progressively.

Lower water levels would affect the health of reed beds, regional wildlife, and fishing.

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