• The town that drowned

    Submerged: In the 1970s more rain than usual was delivered to the surrounding hills and Lago Epecuen began to swell. In 1985, the salty waters broke through the clay dam, and Villa Epecuen was flooded

    By Jill Reilly - Mail Online

    In 1985 a long period of heavy rains sent the lagoon bursting over its banks, and it swept over a busy small town Epecuen was submerged beneath 10 metres (30 feet) of water and 1,500 residents fled their homes.

    Even when waters receded, the country town, 550 kilometres (340 miles) south of the capital, was never rebuilt.

    It remained a hidden underwater world for nearly 25 years, but slowly the water around Argentina's 'town that drowned' has started to recede, exposing the ruins that nestle below.

    Once a vibrant spa town south of Buenos Aires, Epecuen was flooded nearly three decades ago - the lagoon salt water has left its mark with everything slowly emerging from the flood covered in a silvery-white layer.

    The town was flooded without warning after a long period of heavy rains finally sent the lagoon bursting over its banks, submerging the small community on 10 November, 1985.

    The flood barely gave its 1,500 residents time to gather their belongings and flee - stark reminders of daily life remain from the car engines left in the streets to the rusty beds protruding from the water.

    'I had a bunch of cats and dogs, and they ran away a couple days before the flood and I never saw them again,' Norma Berg, 48, told AFP.

    She lived in the town until the flood forced her family to desert their home. 'I think my pets could feel that the water was coming,' explained Ms Berg.

    Since 2009 the level of the water has been decreasing, exposing the ruins of this once popular lakeside resort.

    The spa town had been a popular tourist designation with 20,000 people paying a visit each year to the lagoon. The town had 280 businesses, including lodges, guesthouses, hotels and businesses, centered around the tourist trade.

    Lago Epecuen’s therapeutic powers have been famous for years and the lagoon has a salinity level only topped by the Dead Sea.

    It is said that Epecuen — or ‘eternal spring’ — can cure conditions such as depression, rheumatism and skin diseases.

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