The data are the result of the analysis of satellite images carried out by Mapbiomas through the water monitoring platform in Amazonian countries.
A study released on Wednesday by the MapBiomas platform reported that the water surface in the nine Amazonian countries has decreased by one million hectares in the last 10 years.
The data compared the period between 2013 and 2022 with the historical average for the period (2000-2023) and showed that one million hectares of water surface was lost in the nine Amazonian countries: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela, along with French Guyana.
The study points out that the historical average of water surface in the region, during the period between 2000 and 2022, was 25.4 million hectares.
The report noted that this phenomenon occurs despite the gain of 747,000 hectares -in relation to the historical average- registered in 2022, which increased the total area of water surface in the entire Amazon to 26.2 million hectares last year.
According to the study, the period between 2013 and 2021 will be the period with the lowest water surface area in the historical series analyzed. It indicates that Amazonian countries, in general, have experienced a series of critical transformations in their water resources in the last two decades.
This situation has resulted in a generalized retraction trend in water surface area, which contributes to the proliferation of forest fires and the consequent increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Both biodiversity and communities in the region are severely affected.
"In our region there are three countries that have shown a reduction in their water area during the entire interval between 2000 and 2022, which are Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia," the MapBiomas platform said.
The tweet reads, "AmazonDay In the last 32 years, the Amazon has lost 53.2 Mha (13%) of native vegetation. 52 Mha - equivalent to the area of France - have been anthropized, i.e. converted for some human use. "
In Bolivia, last year there was a reduction of 41,800 hectares of water cover compared to the historical average of 1.6 million hectares. In Peru, the reduction in water area was 124,300 hectares below the historical average of 1.7 million hectares. The decrease in water-bearing area was 14,300 hectares in Ecuador, which had a total of 226,700 hectares of rivers, streams and lakes in 2022.
The other six countries showed one interval of increase and another, between 2013 and 2021, of decrease compared to the historical average.
The reduction of the water surface is also evidenced by a sustained trend of glacier melting that, between 1985 and 2022, led to the loss of an area of 184,000 hectares of glaciers, an area equivalent to 56% of the area detected in 1985.
The study says that all Andean countries suffered glacier loss in this period. In Venezuela, the country with the least glacier coverage, 97 percent of the ice was lost (82 hectares). The greatest extent of melting occurred in Peru, with the loss of 115,000 hectares of glacier cover.
Juliano Schirmbeck dae Geokarten, member of the MapBiomas Amazon Water Countries team, said that "this decrease could have an economic impact on populations in the tropical Andes, with effects on agriculture, drinking water supply and ecosystem integrity".
According to the expert, tropical glaciers, which are a kind of 'thermometer' of the planet, have suffered losses in their entire area due to the increase in temperature caused by the acceleration of the climate crisis.
"All this aggravates health problems and difficulties of access to food, which hurts the populations with fewer economic resources the most. This decrease in water surface contributes to the proliferation of forest fires and the emission of greenhouse gases, which affects both biodiversity and local communities," he said.
The data are the result of the analysis of satellite images carried out by Mapbiomas through the water monitoring platform in Amazonian countries. MapBiomas is a network of non-governmental organizations, universities and technology companies that monitors land use changes in Brazil.