The Cuautla River in Morelos. The Cuautla River in Morelos.

Historian warns second Morelos river is in danger of disappearing

Pollution, diversion and urban sprawl have taken their toll on the river

A Morelos historian has called on citizens and authorities alike to take action against the disappearance of the Cuautla River, which starts near the Popocatépetl volcano and winds its way through México state and Morelos.

Although the river is located in an officially protected natural area, it has been affected by pollution, diversion and urban sprawl.

Historian Enrique Anzures Carrillo and some fellow researchers presented a report on the river last weekend at an event in Tepoztlán, warning of the risks to its survival if the status quo remains.

Anzures reminded attendees that not so long ago another regional river disappeared. The Chiconahuapan flowed from the springs that now feed the swimming complex Las Tazas, which he mentioned has also seen a drop in water levels in recent years. The Chiconahuapan River’s flow was gradually reduced because of its redirection for local agriculture, mostly sugar cane production, until it disappeared altogether between 1940 and 1950. Anzures suggested that a 2021 flood in Cuautla in a part of the city called El Hospital resulted in that river’s return, but it carries little water.

“You could say that the river still passes through, but now there is hardly any water,” said Anzures. He called for a greater commitment from local authorities and residents to keep the Cuautla River from being further polluted and prohibiting its diversion, as well as working to rebuild the capacity and health of local springs.

In June, the state’s Sustainable Development Ministry took citizens on a hike along the river where they explored the outdoor activities available there and spoke about the importance of keeping the area clean and free of trash. More activities are planned for the future.

With reports from El Sol de Cuautla

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