The Bolivian Government has recently declared the area around Poopo Lake a “disaster area”. It would seem that a climate shift drained Poopo, up till now considered the second largest lake in Bolivia.
Due to recent climate changes Poopo Lake, dubbed the second largest lake in Bolivia, has completely dried up. Because of this natural disaster, thousands of families living in the vicinity of the lake have decided to sell up their livestock and move to the cities.
Lake Poopo, apart from being one of Bolivia’s natural wonders, harbored several thousand species of underwater creatures and was also the livelihood for many families.
According to several reports, it would seem that the recent climate shift had something to do with the lake’s demise. But global warming is not the only one to take the blame for the drained lake. Specialists have discovered that several factors contributed to the draining of the lake including El Nino, the recent drought spells, and climate shift. Their reports don’t rule out human interference.
Mining activities, especially tin mining, seem to be directly related to the lake’s demise. It would seem that, over the years, several mining companies have made a habit of diverting water from Lake Poopo, which was used in different mining activities. Failing to substitute the level of water drawn directly from the lake, they inadvertently contributed to the natural disaster.
Recent estimates have revealed that the Poopo’s water level in a little under two percent. Moreover, approximately 75 percent of the species of fish have already perished. All in all, the lakes draining took its toll on approximately 3250 individuals (100 families), most of them earning their livelihood through fishing.
Climate shift drained lake Poopo, but the authorities are ready to put the blame on the local mining companies, who mismanaged the water resources. According to Angel Flore, one of the local leaders, since the companies started mining operations in the area in 1982, the lake’s water levels began to falter.
Furthermore, it seems that the intense mining activity has managed to alter even the weather pattern. Measurements have determined that the temperature has gone up by one degree Celsius in the area surrounding Poopo Lake, thus contributing to the lake’s early demise.
The authorities tried their best to enforce water management policies, but it seems that they either came too late or no one abided by them. A report drafted in 2013 showed that the lake received 163 billion fewer liters, than necessary in order to maintain a balance.