Chapala, Lake

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Chapala, Lake

Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest lake. It lies in a long depression 5,000 feet above sea level in the state of Jalisco. The lake is part of the Lerma-Chapala-Santiago system in which the Lerma River empties into, and the Santiago River flows out from, Chapala. The lake has experienced numerous oscillations in its shoreline. By 1954 a combination of drought and water diversion caused Chapala to recede 2.5 miles, a deficit from which the lake has never fully recovered.

Farmers exploit the exposed lake-bed soils, and small, informal restaurants dot the shores. Increased demands by Mexico City on the Lerma and diversions from Chapala to supply Guadalajara with water are again threatening the viability of the lake. Still, Chapala's beautiful setting and recreational attractions draw many Mexican visitors, and it is a favorite retirement site for a growing colony of North Americans.

See alsoJalisco .


David Barkin and Timothy King, Regional Economic Development: The River Basin Approach in Mexico (1970), esp. pp. 113-115.

José Rogelio Alvarez, ed., Encyclopedia de México, 3d ed., vol. 5 (1978), pp. 265-268.

Robert C. West and John P. Augelli, Middle America: Its Lands and Peoples, 3d ed. (1989).

Additional Bibliography

De Anda, José, and Ulrich Maniak. "Modificaciones en el régimen hidrológico y sus efectos en el fosforo y fosfatos en el lago Chapala, Mexico." Interciencia 32, no. 2 (2007): 100-108.

Durán Juarez, Juan Manuel, and Alicia Torres Rodríguez. "Crisis ambiental en el lago de Chapala y abastecimiento de agua para Guadalajara." Carta Económica Nacional 14, no. 78 (October 2001): 10-11.

Hansen, Anne M., and Manfred Van Afferden, eds. The Lerma-Chapala Watershed: Evaluation and Management. New York: Springer, 2001.

Hargraves, Michael. Lake Chapala: A Literary Survey: Plus an Historical Overview with Some Personal Observations and Reflections of this Lakeside Area of Jalisco, Mexico. London: Hargraves, 1992.

                                         Marie D. Price