Central American Dry Corridor: Nicaragua continues to dry up

The country is facing a severe water supply crisis after a three year drought. 

35 out of 153 of Nicaragua's municipalities are located in the Central American Dry Corridor. This is a region that expands from Chiapas in Mexico and covers parts of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and part of Costa Rica. As its name suggests it is affected by droughts caused mainly by El Niño.

The three year drought suffered by Nicaragua plus the massive deforestation in the last decades is causing a severe water supply crisis.

Nicaragua has lost by late March 60%  of its surface water sources and up to 50% of its underground sources, said Jaime Incer, the president of the Nicaraguan Foundation for Sustainable Development and former environment minister to IPS.

They have either dried up or have been polluted.

He also said the Coco river, the longest river in Central America with 680km, is also in danger as some stretches up to 8km in length are now completely dy. The water level is at a record low.

The biggest fresh water reserve in Central America, the Lake Nicaragua or Cocibolca, has been suffering for water loses since 2012. Similarly, Xolotlán lake's shoreline has receded up to 200 meters in some areas since the drought began in 2014.

Although El Niño has seriously impacted climate change in the region, Incer blames the lack of public policies to tackle the increasing deforestation as an important cause.

The British consultancy Environmental Resources Management, while doing a study for the Nicaragua Canal project found that forest reserves in the south of the country have shrink up to 40%.

The largest forest reserve and declared biosphere reserve, Bosawas, has lost 40%of forest cover according to the non-governmental Humboldt Centre.

The drought has affected the economy and food security of the country. 20% out of the 2.5 million people living with under 2 dollars a day are undernourished. The National Livestock Commission of Nicaragua, said they were worried for the water scarcity.

Precipitation is expected until August 2016, and would be the first in the year. Water scarcity also affects Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. 

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