As the cycle of regular summer rains gets started this month, Lake Chapala is standing well below the water levels registered over the past several years.
According to the Jalisco Water Commission (CEA), on June 14 the lake stood at 48 percent of full holding capacity. The figure for that date compares with 59.49 percent reported in 2020 and 71 percent two years back. The “cota” elevation level has dropped 1.69 meters over the past three years.
Chapala’s recuperation rate fluctuates from year to year. While the lake rose 2.44 meters during the 2018 rainy season, it went up by just 42 centimeters in 2019 and fared slightly better at 59 centimeters last year.
Although extraction of water to supply around 60 percent of the Guadalajara metro area’s needs is a factor in the lake’s annual descent, it is primarily attributed to natural evaporation occurring during the dry months. CEA statistics indicate that a loss of 927 millimeters since January 1 is due to evaporation, with only 8.8 millimeters regained from rains during May and the first two weeks of June.
Lake Chapala’s official maximum capacity is 7.897 billion cubic meters (Mm3) of water. It now holds 3.792 Mm3.