While climate change has fueled the lake’s disappearance, locals also point to the government’s mismanagement of water sources.

Much of Lake Poopó’s water came from the Desaguadero River, which has been diverted for mining and agriculture. In recent years, the flow of water into the Lake Poopó fell to a trickle. 

“Something could have been done to prevent the disaster,” Angel Flores, head of a local group attempting to save the lake, told the AP. “Mining companies have been diverting water since 1982.”

Government officials dismiss this claim, saying climate change is the primary cause of the lake’s disappearance, but are still hopeful Lake Poopó will once bounce back one more time. Bolivian officials have requested $140 million in aid from the European Union in hopes of replenishing the lake.