Long-term and extreme water level variations of the shallow Lake Poopo, Bolivia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Lake Poopo, within the large Altiplano basin of Bolivia, is connected upstream to Lake Titicaca and downstream to the salares, the big salt fields. Small changes in precipitation and river inflows strongly affect the extent of the lake surface area. For times when there are no satellite images, it is difficult to determine the extent of the lake from observations. Water balance computations were performed to create a water-level series for Lake Poopo extending back in time. The dominant water inflow to Lake Poopo is from the River Desaguadero, which constitutes the outflow of Lake Titicaca. The water-balance computations confirm the crude peasant knowledge about historical lake status. It is found that if the lake level is less than I in during the wet season, there is a risk that this shallow lake dries out in the dry season.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Water Engineering


  • water balance, ENSO, Altiplano, palaeolake, Lake Titicaca
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-114
JournalHydrological Sciences Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Publication categoryResearch