Case study on river management: La Cocha

A view of La Cocha lagoon, La Cocha, nr Pasto, Colombia rel=
A view of La Cocha lagoon, La Cocha, nr Pasto, Colombia
© WWF-Canon / Edward PARKER
La Cocha (which simply means 'lake') is a high Andean lake located on the eastern slopes of the southern Andes of Colombia, just north of the border with Ecuador.

It forms part of the upper watershed of the Guamués River, an important tributary of the Putumayo and San Miguel Rivers, themselves major tributaries of the Amazon basin.

The lake and the immediately surrounding land lie between 2,700m and 2,800m above sea level and cover a total area of approximately 39,000ha, comprising the largest wetland system in the Colombian Andes.

The waterbody itself is some 13km long and 6km wide. The basin includes wetlands, cloud forest and 'paramo' (high montane grassland).

Socio-economic importance
Small farms in the area produce milk, potatoes and other vegetables.

Charcoal production, generally undertaken by the poorest farmers and those members of the community without any land of their own, is an important but unsustainable economic activity, resulting in progressive degradation of forest cover and resources.
Area map - click to enlarge / ©: WWF
Area map - click to enlarge
© WWF

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