My Secret Experiment
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(ran from 2003-2004) - email me
I came to central Mexico in November 2001. It was sad to see the shores of the second largest lake in Mexico being reduced almost to a desert, so I figured I knew something about the matter and would try an experiment to help refill it. Back then, you had to drive or walk about a kilometer from the pier just to get to where the water began!
Lighthouse Lake Level Comparison
PostCard photo from about 1980
2001 showing desertification
2010 lake rain and dam filled from 2003-2010
Another PostCard photo from about 1980
2001 Bay from Pier
2010 Bay from Pier
2010 Pier different view
2010 Beach long view
2010 Beach Pier
From my town to Chapala 3 months in 2003
The Landsat imagery above illustrates changes in the lake from 1986 to 2001. The surface area of Lake Chapala in March 1986 was 1,048 square kilometers (259,000 acres). By March 2001, it had diminished to 812 square kilometers (201,000 acres). In just five years, the lake lost 226 square kilometers, or just less than 60,000 acres, of surface area. The city of Washington, D.C., could be relocated to the exposed shoreline with room to spare! This loss corresponds to a water level decline between 2 and 4 meters (6.6 to 13.2 feet), and the change in depth has been accompanied by at least a 50 percent loss of water volume. By some estimates, today’s lake is only one-quarter of its historic capacity.
For the next two years I had somewhat acclimated to this strange culture and spent part of my time studying the local weather patterns which included Guadalajara. Once I had an idea of the energy flows I had a local welder build my machine in 2003.
I have photos showing empty skies and within five hours of operation, clouds had formed and it was raining lightly. These were taken a couple of months before the normal rainy seasion which is from about June 15th to October 15th. Because of the additional water from local dams, I didn't have confidence that my efforts were the sole cause of the lake recovery. So I wait until the energy flows weaken and desertification recurs, at that time I will again use my machine.
I let the machine run non-stop for 3 months, with the idea of redirecting the energy flows for moisture (I am told by experts in this field that such changes in the natural energy flows that control weather can last from 5 up to 25 years), then took it apart. The rain wasn't continuous, but would rain every day or two, sometimes at night, sometimes during the day.
We have seen similar experiments with the intentional formation of peculiar 'standing columnar waves' that can be intitiated in a couple of seconds and yet which can take as much as 3 days (or more) to fade away.
During that period there were many comments on the news and from the locals on the unusually high volume of rain this area had received this year. Every year since, the area has received sufficient rainfall to keep the lake level high, which of course I attribute to the changed energy flows, but then, everyone knows this can't be TRUE!
I was told by a friend not to say anything about it because farmers get to keep the land which is no longer covered by water. As a result there are fences and objects which were not removed when the lake level began refilling. My friend said some of the farmers might slit my throat if they thought I had anything to do with them losing their land due to the lake level rising. So I've not said anything about it for the past 7 years, only to friends and associates.
Below I show two postcard photos of Lake Chapala from the Chapala malecon (beach and pier) as taken approximately 22 years ago versus how dried up the lake was in 2001.
Locals told me about 75-80 years ago (~1926), the water overlapped the pier and covered the steps of the local church which is near the pier as you can see in the background in this old lighthouse on the pier photo which was taken at that time. I took a picture of this old photo in El Gato Negro cantina courtesy of owner Don Antonio who remembers how it was.
Some of the natives who have lived here all their lives as well as expats also commented on the unusual amount of rain in 2003 and 2004 which they had not seen since about 1978 or so. I didn't say anything about what could 'possibly' be a cause. Loose lips and all that jazz plus I didn't want to get my throat cut.
Plus the beneficially biasing factor that no one would believe any of this anyway, especially here where many are just 'waiting for God'. I didn't do it for attention or money, just wanted to help restore the lake if it could be done.
As Guadalajaras' water needs grew, so too did the diversion of water from the River Lerma. Years ago, so I was told, children were diving off the pier into the water and now (2001-2002 when some of this was written) you cannot see the water from the pier as in the dated photos below. The Mexican government was trying to refill the lake from an upriver dam, with soldiers guarding the banks of the River Lerma to prevent diversion which is punishable by prison.
One should keep in mind that this is a very shallow lake, roughly 3-20 feet maximum. We used to see fishermen wading with their nets, water up to their knees, a couple of hundred feet out from the shore. I am told the deepest water is in San Juan Cosala on the north side not far from Chapala.
Cloudbuster pointed in this general direction
And now...for....the rest of the story.