An ancient Indigenous lagoon system brings water back to a dry town in Ecuador

There’s a legend that says the hill of Cerro Pisaca — female — and the hill of Cerro Cango — male — had a bull as a son that, in honor of its father, was named Torito Cango, based on the Spanish word for bull, toro. The bull had a gift: With its roar, it could make clouds come together and it would rain. Out of jealousy, the locals in Ayabaca, a province in the neighboring country of Peru, sent four healers to steal it. But Torito Cango didn’t find the grass he liked to eat in that land. He escaped, and his captors, desperate, sent condors and snakes to hunt him, but he defeated them and went back to his mother’s foothills in the southern Ecuador province of Loja. The people from Ayabaca didn’t give up, and they stole the prized animal again. But this time they also took all the grass it ate. Torito Cango never went back to that region of Ecuador and, according to the legend, it stopped raining there. That’s why Catacocha, a small town in the district of Paltas, is so dry, barren and hot as a desert. That’s why it’s been so hard to get water — at least, that’s the explanation that locals held onto for years. That changed a few years ago, when the work of a historian was key to bringing back a millennia-old Indigenous system that allows residents to have water today even in seasons of intense drought. The…This article was originally published on Mongabay