Cuenca’s drought is probably over meteorologists say, as more rain is predicted

Dec 17, 2016 | 2 comments

A series of soaking rains that began Wednesday night have put an end to the drought that has plagued Cuenca and Ecuador’s southern sierra. Ecuador’s weather service says more rain is in the forecast through next week.

High water on the Rio Tomebamba Friday.

“The is excellent news for our area,” said Ivan Palacios, general manager of ETAPA, the utility that supplies most of the potable water in the Cuenca area. “We are looking forward to more rainy, cloudy conditions that will replenish ground water. We still need more rain.”

Unfortunately, says Palacios, the rains are arriving just as Cuenca’s Christmas festivities are kicking off. He said it is too early to predict the weather for the city’s big Christmas Eve parade.

As of Friday, the national emergency management office said that all wildfires have been extinguished in the mountain region of southern Ecuador, including one that threatened Cuenca’s water supply early this week. Firefighters had brought the fire, which burned in the Cajas Mountains west of the city, under control by Wednesday afternoon but the evening showers extinguished the last hot spots.

Palacios said that Cuenca’s rivers were running at capacity on Friday and warned residents to stay clear of river banks during new showers. “Every year, we lose several citizens to drowning when they approach rivers too closely and fall in,” he said.

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