Laguna de Aculeo



The Laguna de Acuelo was once a domestic tourist destination in Chile until it recently began to vanish from the map. In 2011, the lagoon spread over 12 km2 and reached depths of up to 6 metres. In May 2018, for the first time in over 2,000 years, the lagoon completely dried up.

Although the last 10 years have been drier than normal, scientists pinned the cause of the lagoon’s disappearance exclusively on the exploitation of the area’s water resources, affirming that water consumption had increased exponentially in the last 10 years. Water use in avocado cultivation and supplying the city of Paine would be the source of the increased consumption.

In less than 10 years, the landscape in the area had completely changed, going from a lush wetland to a dry wasteland useless for either crops or grazing. Due to a change in water management policy, and above all, thanks to the spring rains of 2020, the lagoon is making a timid recovery.

Through the satellite images we can observe the rapid drying of the lagoon from September 2011 to March 2020.

Laguna de Aculeo on February 18th 2017 (left) and November 9th 2020 (right). Band combination in natural color (4-3-2). CC BY 4.0 Sentinel Hub EO Browser.

Starting in the spring of 2020 and until the end of the year, the area has experienced a tentative comeback thanks to a better management of water resources, plus higher rainfall in this period.

Explore this story trought the EO Browser.

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