Aguas Andinas, through a video, showed how the El Yeso reservoir – the main source of drinking water in Greater Santiago – is located after the last rainfall recorded in the central zone of the country.
Despite the mega drought that has affected Chile in the last decade, 10.2 millimeters of water fell in the Metropolitan region, a situation that has not been experienced since 2015 with the “last great storm” in the capital, and the El Yeso reservoir is proof of this.
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To these encouraging figures is added what was reported by the Monitoring Station of the University of Santiago with 25 centimeters of depth in the snow fall. In 2021, the depth was 0 centimeters on the same date.
Video via Twitter: @aguas_andinas
“Maintain acceptable levels”
The climatologist from the University of Santiago, Raul Cordero, valued that the rainfall left a large amount of snowfall. “The snow-covered area in the central zone was close to typical values for the date, that is, about 15,000 km² of snow, between La Serena and Chillán,” he said in Third.
Although the average figures have decreased due to climate change, Cordero indicated that “it continues to be an excellent notice start the meteorological winter (June 1) with a snowy mountain range”.
“At least this June has had a better start than June 2021. The average coverage level between La Serena and Concepción registered a deficit of more than 40% during the month of June of last year,” the expert said optimistically.
Although for the climatologist, the only way to avoid rationing for Greater Santiago “is to maintain acceptable levels in the El Yeso and Los Aromos reservoirs. It is important that the authority, that is, the General Water Directorate (DGA), is concerned with maintain high levels of the El Yeso reservoir. Its level depends not only on rainfall, but also on the use of water in the basin. It currently has levels slightly lower than those of the same date last year (146.7 million m3 in 2022, 175 in 2021)”.
It should be noted that the El Yeso reservoir is the main drinking water reserve for approximately six million inhabitants, who consume 700 million cubic meters. Currently, the place has 67% of its capacity, far from the threatening 30% of 2019.
The importance of El Yeso falls on the spring and summer season, since it is at that time that the city is supplied with its reverse gear, Cordero said. “And not always, since it is used when the flow of the Maipo River drops. It should be noted that it can sustain human consumption in Santiago for up to three months only. That means that we are vulnerable to long periods with weak flows in the Maipo River.” , he complemented.
The professional pointed out that in the ecological reserve of Yerba Loica -a research station located at 2,600 meters above sea level- “25 cm of snow were recorded until Saturday. This value is notoriously higher than that recorded a year ago when practically no snow had fallen. The snow that accumulates during the winter is a natural reservoir, and much of the flow of our rivers in the central zone during the spring corresponds to melted snow.”
“Therefore, in view of the complicated water scenario that is expected in the next spring-summer season, the snowfalls recorded in recent days are excellent news,” he added.
Despite the good records, Cordero emphasized that “far are the days when more than 55 mm of rain could fall in a single day in Santiago. The last time was June 3, 2002 (20 years ago). One of the consequences of climate change in the central zone is the decrease, not only in rainfall, but also in the number of rainy days.If in the first days of the year in Santiago there used to be nine days of rainfall during the first five months of the year, in 2022 we have only three”.