Lake Titicaca water level at five-year low due to lack of rain

Water levels in Lake Titicaca, the largest lake in South America and the highest commercially navigable lake in the world, recently hit a five-year low and continue to drop by an average of 0.5 centimeters per day because of an unusually dry dry spell in Puno, said meteorologist Hernán Saavedra, the Director of the Peru’s National Meteorology and Hydrology Institute, or Senamhi.

Water levels dropped to 3.809 meters on Wednesday, Saavedra told state news agency Andina, and although they still register within normal limits, the daily 0.5 centimeter drop has caused the lake’s water levels to hit a five-year low point.

The meterological phenomenon, which has also affected the volume of water flow in the lake’s tributary rivers, is mainly due to evaporation caused by incessant sunny days in Puno, said Saavedra.

But the rainy season, to begin in late November, should bring the lake’s water levels back to it’s usual 3.810 meters, the metereologist added.

Though the sun is shining hard in Puno, cold temperatures and strong ice-cold bursts of wind continue to sweep across Peru’s southern highland region and should continue to do so with greater intensity and frequency in August, Saavedra added.

Since the start of winter last June, The higher zones, including Capaso, Masocruz and Punta Perdida, have been hit by extreme weather, with temperatures averaging at −26.5°C, or −16°F and in the city of Puno, the department’s capital, as well as in towns located near Lake Titicaca, where temperatures have dropped well below freezing.

Lake Titicaca is a lake located on the border of Peru and Bolivia. It was originally inhabited by the Urus, a now extinct people. It was later successively dominated by Aymara warlords, the Inca empire and Spanish conquistadores. Today, the lake — a top tourist attraction — is mostly known for it’s more than 40 artificial islands made of floating reeds.

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