Lago de Valencia (Lake Valencia) is located in north-central Venezuela and is the largest freshwater lake in the country. The lake was formed approximately 2-3 million years ago due to faulting and subsequent damming of the Valencia River. The lake has been completely dry during several discrete periods of its geologic history. Since 1976 Lake Valencia water levels have risen due to diversion of water from neighboring watersheds—it currently acts as a reservoir for the surrounding urban centers (such as Maracay).
The vivid green algal blooms present in this image result from a continual influx of untreated wastewater from the surrounding urban, agricultural, and industrial land uses. This contributes to ongoing eutrophication, contamination, and salinization of the lake. Despite its picturesque location between the Cordillera de la Costa to the north and the Serrania del Interior to the south, Lake Valencia’s poor water quality limits opportunities for tourism and recreational activities.