CUENCA DIGESTCuenca escapes floods but rain fills local rivers

Nov 23, 2010

Cuenca escaped the heavy rains that caused floods in Colombia and northern Ecaudor but has received enough to replenish the city´s rivers and fill the downstream reservoirs that generate most of the country´s electricity.

Before the rains began two weeks ago, breaking a three-month drought, some officials were predicting a repeat of the severe drought of 2009 which forced reductions in electric service throughout the country. Cuenca´s three rivers had become small streams, termed “rivers of rocks” by one local televisión commentator

The rains, which began Nov. 11, have amounted to almost two inches, breaking a drought that had seen less a half of inch of rain since August. October, which historically sees almost three inches of rainfall, produced less than a quarter of inch this year. On average, Cuenca receives 28.5 inches of rain annually.

Hernán Parra of the national meteorlogical office says that global climate change is a factor in the droughts of 2009 and 2010 but believes that the worst is over this year. “It appears we are returning to more seasonal weather patterns,” he said. “The next three months are typically dry months but our watersheds have been recharged and we should be fine until March, when rains pick up.”

Parra says there will be no repeat of the power cuts of 2009. "The reservoirs downstream from Cuenca are at capacity. We are in good shape for the foreseeable future."

MOST SLEEP THROUGH SMALL MONDAY MORNING EARTHQUAKE

Although some felt yesterday morning´s earthquake, most slept through it. The quake, centered in Guayas Province, 80 miles west of Cuenca, registered 4.1 on the Richter Scale. It occurred at 5:24 Monday morning according to the Austro Seismic Network.

The mild quake was felt in Guayaquil, Cuenca and Quito, and lasted about 60 seconds.

Although all of Ecuador is located in the seismically active Pacific Ring of Fire, the intensity and frequency of earthquakes varies by area of the country. The most active areas are on the coast and in the Andes, east of Quito. Esmeraldas, Bahia de Caraquez and Manta have experienced a number of quakes above 7.0 on the Richter Scale over the past 400 years while Quito has experienced several in the 6 to 7 range, according to the country´s geological survey office. The country´s strongest quake in modern times was registered at 9.0 off the north coast in 1901. Because it is in an older, more geologically stable area, Cuenca has not experienced a quake beyond about 4.5 magniture in recorded history, according to geogloists.

SPAY–NEUTER PROGRAM AIMS AT REDUCING THE NUMBER OF UNWANTED DOGS AND CATS

The city of Cuenca and the ARCA Foundations are sponsoring a spay – neuter program and invites pet owners to bring in their dods and  cats for sterilization.

In the first phase of the program, more than 120 surgeries were performed for low-income families. Now, sponsors are inviting all interested pet owners to come in for the procedure. For an appointment, please phone 283 5201. Procedures will be performed in Solidarity Ark Veterinary Clinic at 2-37 Baltazar Calderon and Miguel Vélez.

Photo caption: Rio Tomebamba three weeks ago; photo credit: El Comercio

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