Satellite image of Jequetepeque river in December 2023 and January 2024
Jan 2024

Jequetepeque river’s rice bloom

Satellite view of La Libertad dep., Peru

Fields have suddenly taken up a green livery in January 2024 as rice crops started to thrive along the Jequetepeque river in Northern Peru. The cereal accounts for 70% of the region’s harvested area, located in La Libertad department and irrigated by Andean waters.

Jequetepeque river and irrigation

Local ancient cultures had already learnt to tame these downhill streams for cultivation benefits thousands of years ago. This sophisticated water management knowledge culminated with the Moche culture, from 200 to 850 AD. Diverting rivers and using water reservoirs, they managed to turn this arid land into a lush farming territory with abundant production.

The collapse of the Moche culture is thought to have been partly caused by a disruptive climatic event described as a “super El NiƱo” episode. This resulted in thirty years of intense rain, followed by thirty years of drought that inevitably exhausted the water-intensive cultures of the region.

Nimbo Earth Online with modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2023-2024)