The State of the Lake

CathEric_amazon (with Eric by the Amazon River in 2007?)

Though I am still not sure how the Lake Chapala Projects are going to figure in my life I keep up with the news from the area. It is a place I feel deeply connected to and I continue to believe I will incorporate some form of the project into my creative practice. It has been a year since the death of my husband–I am slowly starting to get back to work again. I have 2 shows coming up with my art partner, Trudy, and one solo show, so I have been planning some new work and will begin “construction” soon. Thank you again for all your support.

I just got the latest “Focus on Mexico” e-newsletter. They shared some good news about Lake Chapala gleaned from a recent community meeting…

–The Lake is indeed in the best shape it’s been in many years
–The Lake depth averages about 12 feet (not that deep), which means that the waves help keep it oxygenated and mostly free of algae
–The latest rainy season (which typically ends in October) brought about 55 inches of rain compared to the previous years 32 inches. Even with the rise in the lake level, it is only a bit over 60% full (mid-July last year it was 40%).
–The amount of rainfall is not that big a determinant in the level of the lake (water being diverted for farm irrigation and to Guadalajara who get 60% of their water from the Lake are the biggest factors). However Guad only accounts for about 1 to 1.5 feet a year of water use from Lake Chapala.
–For each 1% farms can reduce their Lake draw (i.e. through better efficiencies), 400 thousand more people can be served by the lake. i.e. if farms reduced their take by 15% there would be enough water for everyone…
–Safety wise, testing of the lake water purity found a coliform count of 50 (at a US public beach, the water is declared safe to swim in if the count is under 240).
–The lyrio plants that sometimes appear rampant in the lake, are not a significant problem re Lake health – but the Federal government recently funded a clean up. Quite effective! The lyrio were to be used in fertilizer – so also very green! While there are not many fish in the lake, they may not like the disappearance of the lyrio as they have had a chance to recover a little under the cover of the lyrio

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