San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Mexico - Efforts to divert the flow of the Agua Azul river in Chiapas and restore the popular waterfalls by the same name have been successful, federal and state officials said last week.
The river changed course for reasons that have not yet been defined but there appears to be a consensus among geologists that September's earthquakes might have been the cause. The falls showed signs of drying up earlier this month as a result of the diversion.
Thousands of tourists from around the world visit the Agua Azul waterfalls each day, making it the main economic driver of the region.
In order to divert the main flow of the river back toward the falls, government officials and local residents built a temporary wall with sandbags. A permanent masonry wall will soon be built to replace the sandbags.
Once the natural course of the river was thus altered, the heads of three federal agencies - the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), the National Water Commission (Conagua) and the National Natural Protected Areas Commission (Conanp) - visited the river, joined by Chiapas Governor Manuel Velasco Coello.
Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Rafael Pacchiano Alemán said 100% of the flow of water toward the river's cataracts was reestablished thanks to the work of the federation and the state, along with local residents.Originally published by El Universal, translated and edited by Mexico News Daily.