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8 lakes and rivers that are drying up

By: Shea Gunther on May 20, 2016, 10:19 a.m.
Lake Poopó in Bolivia before and after drying up

Photo: Jesse Allen/NASA Earth Observatory

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Lake Poopó

Lake Poopó was once Bolivia's second largest lake but is essentially dry now. The left side of the image was taken in April 2013 and shows the lake with some water remaining. When NASA trained the Operational Land Imager on the Landsat 8 satellite in January 2016, the space agency was met with a dried up lakebed, featured on the right side of the image. Drought, climate change and diverting water from the lake's primary source of water are largely credited with contributing the Poopó's decline.

While not terribly deep — it's only about 9 feet to the bottom — Lake Poopó played an important part in local living and wildlife. About two-thirds of the 500 or so families in the surrounding area, many of which survived by fishing in the lake, have already left the area to seek out a living elsewhere. Meanwhile, fish have died by the millions and roughly 500 birds, including flamingos, have also died due to the dried up lake.