Water levels have dropped to dangerous levels at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon in Rio de Janeiro which will host rowing and canoeing events in the 2016 Olympics.

Dry land has popped up in shallower portions of the picturesque lagoon that sits below the Christ the Redeemer statue just minutes from the famous beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema.

Indeed, Brazil's southeast has been grappling with the worst drought in 80 years and a lack of rain means the lagoon is not being replenished. Soaring summer temperatures have only complicated matters as the country struggles to find enough water and meet spiking energy needs.

The lagoon, which is connected to the Atlantic Ocean through a narrow strait, has an average depth of about 3.20 metres.

The surface of the lagoon usually stands between 20 and 60 centimetres above sea level, but on Tuesday it was down to just 17 centimetres above sea level.

The city closed the floodgates leading to the Atlantic to try and make sure more water was not lost.

Brazilian biologist Mario Moscatelli said the main concern is that the low water levels could throw off oxygen levels in the reflective body of water leading to a die off of fish.

He said it was still too early to tell what affects the water levels might have on the upcoming Olympics.

A buoy in the centre of the lagoon constantly monitors the water quality here and the city has said so far there are no indications of any problems.

The lagoon is scheduled to host Olympic and Paralympic rowing and canoeing competitions for the 2016 Games which begin on August 5, 2016.