A rural town’s river vanished. Is Chile’s constitution to blame?
In the small Andean town of Rengo in central Chile, the Rengo River has vanished. In its place there is a manmade lake that has been drained and filled in. Is this the beginning of a new trend?
A river used to run through this Andean town of Rengo. The river now exists only as the empty space between the houses and the concrete walls around it, where it is being replaced with a lake.
In the small Andean town of Rengo in central Chile, the Rengo River used to run through the centre of town. Now it’s a dead river, its bed filled in and a lake created at the riverside.
The water came out of the ground through a hole in a concrete wall, dug by the town’s engineers. To get it into the building they filled the hole with water, which the engineers then drained and pumped back into the ground.
Now, on the empty space in the middle of the town where once the river used to run, a lake is growing.
The Rengo is another example of the new economy in rural areas here, where people have been forced off their land and given instead a form of compensation – in the form of a city or a state.
The problem is that some people fear the loss of the way of life that was here before it was transformed into a form of compensation, and they don’t want it to change.
What is life like in the city of Rengo?
The village of Rengo is located in the Chilean Andes, near the border with the Argentine province of La Rioja. As elsewhere in the region, most of the population works in farms. The town itself is made of old houses made of wood, brick and corrugated iron. There is also a hotel nearby where the tourists arrive, and a golf course in the valley.
If the town was a car, it would have at least 150 seats. Most are empty and covered by white tarpaulins