Argentina’s Atuel River: a link and a divide


Manuel Castilla, author of some of this country’s best-known Zamba folk-music lyrics, was traveling through the province of La Pampa in the 1960s when he heard a tragic story. His response was to write “Zamba of the Stolen River,” a song about the environmental, social and economic degradation that occurred in a 7,000-square-mile (18,000-sq-km) area of La Pampa when the Atuel River dried up. The Atuel, which originates in the Andes, had sustained prosperous agricultural communities in the early part of the 20th century, according to Walter Cazenave, a geographer and former official with La Pampa’s Water Resources Secretariat. But the river then was tapped increasingly in upstream Mendoza province to generate hydropower and to irrigate the vineyards underlying... [Log in to read more]

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