For the first time ever, the Jalisco State Congress has set aside specific funding to control the spread of lirio aquatico (water hyacinth) in Lake Chapala.
The four million peso earmark was included in the 2016 spending budget approved by legislators on December 15, tying up a positive year for Mexico’s largest lake with a bright green bow.
Funds for the so-called Chapala Limpio program will be channeled through the state Ministry of the Environment and Territorial Development (Semadet) to purchase specialized equipment and hire manpower to remove the prolific weed from the lake.
“The idea is to acquire a machine with a mechanical band that will be used for constant lirio extraction,” says District 17 representative Erika Ramirez. “In addition there will be trained personnel to remove it by other means in some zones.”
Elected under the Mexico Green Party (PVEM) banner, Ramirez represents constituents in 18 municipalities, including the lakeshore communities of Poncitlán, Chapala, Jocotepec, Tuxcueca and Tizapán el Alto.
She indicates that the aim is to establish a permanent program to keep Chapala’s waters clean and weed-free, which will directly benefit the region’s inhabitants and its tourist industry, as well Jalisco as a whole, especially metro-area dwellers dependent upon the lake for a steady water supply.
Although the level of the lake has already dropped 11 centimeters since the end of the 2015 rainy season, it recovered 1.45 meters between June 15 and November 16, rising from 43 to 62 percent of its maximum holding capacity during that period. It is the highest gain recorded since 2010.