The town that emerged in the midst of the harsh drought in Argentina

A severe drop in the flow of the Mar Chiquita lagoon exposed the ruins of the town of Miramar de Ansenuza, something that has become a tourist attraction and an element of concern and some concern for the inhabitants of the area.

The severe and long drought that affects almost all of Argentina is not only reflected in dry fields, animals without forage and economic losses. Water sources have lost their usual flow, revealing a good part of their history, as is the case of the Mar Chiquita lagoon, in the northwest of the province of Córdoba.

Since 2017, a downspout caused the lagoon to lose almost 4.5 meters of its usual flow, with which the ruins of Miramar de Ansenuza began to become visible, a tourist town that was submerged under water and lost around 60 % of its territory after a huge flood in 1977. Now, it is possible to recognize the old street layouts and some ruined buildings, something that has become a tourist attraction for visitors to the region and, in turn, a phenomenon that disturbs and worries its inhabitants.

According to the historian Mariana Zapata, this very particular situation is caused by the “large clearings” and “unauthorized channeling” in the wetlands of the Río Dulce, one of the main tributaries of Mar Chiquita. In times of flood it is estimated that the river provides about 1,300 m³/s, while in normal times it should reach the lagoon to maintain its level between 110 and 120 m³/s.

“When clandestine channels appear on the river, that amount of water is not entering and this causes this great downspout that we are experiencing,” Zapata asserted.

Mar Chiquita is the largest lake surface in the country and the largest in South America with salt water. Its extension is close to 8,000 square kilometers, but it is variable and has always depended on the water that comes through the tributary rivers and the rains. Just between last year and so far in 2023, the lagoon’s flow dropped 70 centimeters, which for many makes it a faithful witness to climate change.

According to the Drought Information System for southern South America (SISSA), more than 59% of the Argentine territory suffers from some degree of lack of rainfall. Within this percentage, almost half have extreme or severe drought, which brought about many problems in the agricultural sector. Despite the fact that the Government promised to grant soft loans to small and medium producers, for many this offer is not enough to alleviate the consequences of deforestation, lack of rain and rising temperatures.

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Deborah Acker

I write epic fantasy; self-published via KDP. Devoted dog mom to my 10 yr old GSD, Shadow! DM not a priority; slow response at best #amwriting #author.

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