The Agua Azul river in Chiapas. The Agua Azul river in Chiapas.

‘Divine punishment’ shrunk Chiapas falls

That's one theory but authorities have a plan to return the river to its original course

There is still no definitive explanation for the shrinking of the Agua Azul river and the waterfall that shares the same name, but what explanations there are range from the geological to the divine.


But regardless of the cause, there are expectations that everything will be back to normal soon.

Residents of a nearby Tzetzal town told the newspaper El Universal that no one remembers anything like it happening to the river and the waterfall, a major tourist attraction that has become the chief driver of economic activity for that region of the state.

They see the river’s diversion as “divine punishment” after a group of “invaders” arrived in the area 12 years ago, attempting to take over 500 hectares of community owned land.

Geologists have a different view. One explanation is fragmentation of rock in the riverbed, causing the river to run deeper and diverting most of its flow from the principal course to a secondary one.

That fragmentation, said one, is the result of the deforestation of the land around the river.

The September 7 earthquake has also been cited as the cause.


But whatever the reason, locals want to see the river return to its previous course. To that end, earlier this week they cleaned the riverbed of rocks that might have been obstructing the water from flowing to the Agua Azul cataracts, but the effort was unsuccessful.

Specialists from the National Water Commission (Conagua), the National Natural Protected Areas Commission (Conanp) and the Chiapas Civil Protection office traveled to the Agua Azul river yesterday to assess its depth and the force of its flow.

This morning, Conagua chief Roberto Ramírez de la Parra predicted the falls would be back to normal in 20 days. Sandbags will be placed in the river this week as a temporary measure to divert the water back to its original course, after which a retaining wall will be built as a permanent diversion.

At the waterfall, tourists have been enjoying the modified attraction. Pools that just 15 days ago were unreachable and dangerous are now easily accessible, and the decreased flow of water has not affected visitors’ enjoyment of the area.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp)

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  • DreadFool

    si pues, how come el divino never shuts down Los Pinos?

    • Berynice

      You made me laugh out loud. Thanks!