26 June 2008

The Wonders of Water in Mendoza

Mendoza averages 220 mm of rainfall per year (under 9 inches), about the same as El Paso, Texas. The region's vineyards, olive groves, park vegetation, drinking water supplies all owe their existence to an elaborate system of irrigation that dates back to Incan times. Snowmelt from the Andes is collected and channeled into area rivers for transport and ultimate diversion to downstream acequias (ditches).

Mendocinos are proud of their man-made oasis in the desert. Cab drivers, waiters, and vendors pointed out to us the extensive diversity of vegetation. Throughout the city, acequias of all vintages water roadside trees that provide shade and beauty (look to the right of the trees in the photo). Just be careful coming home from a late night out!  

We spent our last full day in Mendoza yesterday soaking up the sun in the town's incredible Parque General San Martin (remember winter officially began down here in the southern hemisphere on June 21). Acequias, complete with gates, crisscross the 512-hectare park, apparently fed by the man-made lake that also serves the region's rowing enthusiasts. The fountain shown below is just one of the many other water features in the park. (Despite retirement from WaterPR, Linda's still fascinated with water works!)

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