Drought takes toll in Uruguay, exposing vulnerability


Uruguay built a temporary dam across the Santa Lucía River to create a makeshift reservoir that would help boost its depleted drinking water supply. The project was completed on May 23. (Photo courtesy of Teledoce)

Uruguay in the last week of May emerged from the deepest and most prolonged drought it has experienced since the 1947 inception of its modern-day precipitation record-keeping, according to the Uruguayan Meteorological Institute (Inumet). During the three-year period 2020-2022, rain averaged 800 millimeters annually compared to a 1981-2010 reference period average of 1,305 millimeters. The trend continued until the end of May, aggravated by temperatures well above normal in February, April, and May. “The prolonged periods of meteorological drought are usually grouped in periods of two consecutive years, further underscoring the exceptionality of this event, which spans three and a half years in a consecutive manner,” Inumet said in a report issued on May 12. A key contributor was an unusual three-consecutive-year stretch of the La Niña weather pattern, which is characterized by cooler-than-normal waters in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific and... [Log in to read more]

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