(photos from keelynet.com)
You hear people today praise the rains and they always explain that they remember when the lake was very low. Here is an excerpt which explains a bit about the lake's recent history, taken from chapalaguide.com:
|The Lake is about 75 kilometers (50 miles) long from east to west with a maximum north-south width of about 20 kilometers (12.5 miles). Its large surface area (1,050 square kilometers or 405 square miles) makes it the largest natural lake in Mexico and the third largest in Latin America, after Lake Titicaca and Lake Nicaragua in Central America. Despite its size, Lake Chapala is quite shallow, with an average depth of only slightly over four meters (13 feet) and an maximum depth of less than 30 meters (9.75 feet)— Tony Burton|
The region surrounding Lake Chapala comprises eight municipalities in the state of Jalisco and four in the state of Michoacan. Most of the area's visitors and residents from abroad gravitate to the Northshore municipalities of Ajijic, Chapala and Jocotepec.-- Dale Hoyt Palfrey
Lake Chapala has undergone a dramatic transformation since the start of the new millennium. In June, 2002 the lake stood at the lowest level recorded since 1955, holding less than 15 per cent of its full water storage capacity. The dire situation prompted a number of environmental activists to warn of Chapala's imminent demise, a prediction that fortunately proved dead wrong. Abundant precipitation during the 2003 and 2004 rainy seasons has brought the lake back to around 75% full capacity and the highest level registered since the early 1980's.
The State of Jalisco now opens dams from nearby rivers to help control the level of the lake as well, and limits have been established as to how much water may be taken from the lake for irrigation. This year's rainfall of over 42 inches is already well above the average rainfall of 31.9 inches, so the lake is even higher this year: good for tourism and fo the farmers. Ironically, much of the Guadalajara water supply comes from Lake Chapala, yet our local water comes from drilled wells.
Pixie has started teaching again at the Love in Action orphanage, in Chapala. She teaches a conversational English class to four children every Wednesday morning, and on Fridays, she and another couple from our Unitarian fellowship, Sue and Kelly, conduct a library time for the children. Sue was a librarian in her former life and, together with Pixie and Kelly, she has set up a wonderful library with English and Spanish books, puzzles, and computers to give the children something interesting to do. Here are some photos of the children during last Friday's library session: