Colombia’s Magdalena and Cauca Rivers are at their lowest level in 13 years, and officials from the Institute for Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies (IDEAM) warn that recent rain is not enough to replenish them.
Spanish Wire service EFE reported that the rivers are at their lowest levels since 1997, and that this has a significant impact on the nation’s economy.
Last week’s rainfall “doesn’t mean [the rivers] are recuperated; the basin of the Magdalena River is still dry,” said Ricardo Lozano, IDEAM director, in an interview with RCN Radio.
Colombia has been experiencing unusually dry and hot weather caused by the El Niño weather phenomenon, which arrived towards the end of last year, leading to water and electricity rationing being imposed in certain parts of the country.
The country’s fishermen are suffering, as water levels are too low to support fish. Water supplies have been affected in Colombia’s major cities, including Cali and Cucuta where water rationing is in place.
Wildfires triggered by El Niño caused irreparable damage to forests in Colombia, leading the president to declare a state of emergency.
At this moment, officials have reported that there are 29 wildfires still burning across the country.
Officials have reported that there is little hope for relief from the drought, and that the dry season could run through April.