As Lake Chapala continues a spectacular rise at the tail end of the rainy season, it is gobbling up the shoreline and occasionally spilling over man-made boundaries.
When stormy weather brought on by Hurricane Willa rolled in last weekend, strong winds churned up waves that sloshed over the waterfront boardwalks in Jocotepec and San Cristobal Zapotitlán at the west end of the lake. Low grounds at Chapala’s Club de Yates the beach area east of the Ajijic pier and crops planted at the edges of the lake are now under water.
Statistics reported Thursday, October 25 by the Jalisco Water Commission put the lake at 81.97 percent of full capacity, compared to 66.52 percent on the same date last year.
Its estimated volume hit 6,473 Mm3 (6.4 billion cubic meters), 1,219 Mm3 more than the equivalent 2017 figure. Water stretches over 113,055 hectares within the lake basin’s total surface area of 114,659 hectares.
Experts predict that the lake could fill up to as much as 90 percent capacity by the time the rainy season subsides. While structures built within the federal zone along the waterfront are now at risk of flooding, most shoreline towns appear to be out of danger.
Lake Chapala has only rarely surpassed the 100 percent mark since statistical record keeping began a century ago. The last period when the phenomenon occurred was during the 1970s.