Why are the Agua Azul waterfalls drying up?

Experts say the ecological damage can still be reverted
Agua Azul waterfalls in Chiapas – Photo: iStock
21/11/2017
15:28
Viridiana Ramírez
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It's true, the September 7 earthquake caused a fissure of 30cm to appear in the bed of the Agua Azul waterfalls. However, this is not the only reason why one of the main attractions of the Chiapas jungle is drying up: deforestation is the real culprit.

Adrián Méndez, regional director of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas said during an interview with EL UNIVERSAL that “when the water level is below its average maximum (60cm), water deviates naturally to the left margin of the river, opposite to the tourist area, causing the waterfalls to dry up.”

Last November 15, locals launched a massive cleaning of the riverbed so the water could flow back to the waterfalls. Their action, combined with the rains of previous days, have given temporary results yet as soon as the dry season arrives, the spectacular waterfalls will disappear again.

“The problem in Agua Azul started several years ago, and it's deforestation. The reserve is running out of trees (Ceiba trees, mahogany trees, cedars). Their roots filter water to the phreatic surface; these work as capsules where water is stored and, little by little, it feeds the rivers,” said the regional director.

Several environmental experts of the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas are currently working to present a program during the first week of December to show the actions which can be taken to reverse the ecological damage.

“Once the program launches, we estimate three years will be necessary to restore the ecosystems of the natural reserve at 100%,” concluded Méndez.

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