Neither tourists nor water, the saddest image of the Iguazú Falls


An atypical show … that nobody will be able to see live. After 15 years, the Iguazú Falls showed their lowest flow of water. The waterfalls Bossetti, San Martín, Dos Hermanas, Velo de Novia, Alvar Núñez, Arrechea and Floriano, among others, showed the walls of bare rock and moss, but it barely exhibited trickles of water, which has almost completely disappeared.

Inclusively, in the last days that the falls could be visited, the companies that take tourists to navigate along the river of the same name until they reached the waterfalls themselves had stopped doing so through the downspout.

During 2019, the total number of visitors reached 1,635,237 people. Since March 15, due to the restrictions imposed by the Alberto Fernández government following the coronavirus pandemic, the flow of visitors gradually decreased until the total quarantine closed the Iguazú National Park. On Wednesday 25, in addition, a municipal resolution, initialed by the mayor Claudio Filippa and different councilors directly prohibited the entry of “people and transport of any nationality” by the Tancredo Neves international bridge, which connects that town with Foz de Iguazú.

Habitually, For the 275 waterfalls that make up this natural wonder, around 1600 cubic meters of water fall per second. Right now, a log of 288 cubic meters is calculated, considerably less than a third and similar to that of 2006, when it touched 300 cubic meters. The drought that year was the worst the region suffered in two decades.

Iguazu falls, 70 meters high, are located between the Brazilian town of Foz de Iguazú and Puerto Iguazú, whose views compete in beauty, and near Ciudad del Este, in the so-called Triple Border that unites Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay.

But now, the situation worsened. Not only the lack of rain that causes a major drought in the region are responsible for this anomaly. In the absence of water, the Brazilian electricity generating companies closed their floodgates. In the course of the river are those of Salto Osorio (1975), Foz de Areia (1980), Salto Santiago (1980), Salto Segredo (1992), Caixas (1999) and Baixo Iguaçu (2019), located just 30 kilometers from the national tourist park, despite the ecological risk that Unesco warned.

This also caused the downstream of the Iguazú river, whose height in Puerto de Andresito is usually one meter. Nevertheless, at the moment it is only 20 centimeters. And also that of Paraná, which registered the lowest mark since 1978 this year, according to measurements made at the Yaciretá hydroelectric dam, located in the Corrientes town of Ituzaingó. the average flow of 2019 ended as the second lowest since 1971, with about 10,900 cubic meters per second, after 10,500 in 1978.

But the loss of river flow not only left the main tourist center of northeast Argentina without its usual beauty, it also affected the provision of drinking water in Puerto Iguazú, in the midst of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The mouths of water for consumption by the inhabitants of the border town, which are located in the Mbocaí stream, were practically on the surface. The Missionary Institute of Water and Sanitation reported that they raised “the claim to the Nation and the Foreign Ministry to intervene in the neighboring country, since the downspout of the Iguazú river is linked to the closure of floodgates and retention of river water for the production of electrical energy”.