Yes, there is a drought in Ecuador. We've read that it's the most severe drought in over 4 decades.
There are rolling electical outages in the country, as the government is conserving power. One of the largest hydro-electric plants is outside the town of Paute...and you need water/rain to make electricity. The outage schedule has been posted in the local newspapers, and we hear the outages could be ongoing for the next couple months, depending on the weather.
Note to Patty and Michael (and others headed our way soon): pack a flashlight!
We have a generator in the building, so we're not affected much.
The only irritation/frustration we've had with the outages is that we couldn't use some power tools at the adobe building to hang up some blinds...... we just had to wait for the power to come back on. Obviously, no big deal. Our attorneys downtown didn't have power for awhile and it delayed some computer work, but, again, no big deal. Also, our local bank was closed for a few hours while the power was out and the ATM was down. Still, not a huge deal.
We haven't had much rain for a few days, and our river is almost dry. Take a look.
Cuenca is smoky! We've heard from our Ecuadorian friends that several fires are burning in the Andes. They think it has to do with some of the native farmers setting fires to bring on the rain.
Hope it helps soon, we really need the rain!
Today, the smoke is thick! Smells like the forest fires we used to experience in Oregon. We can't see the surrounding mountains at times, depending on the winds. We also hear from our Ecuadorian friend that he's seen ash in a couple towns outside of Cuenca. We haven't seen ash here though.
Fortunately, the winds usually come up in the afternoons and help blow out the smoke a bit. A good thing!