I read a science fiction novel about a rare kind of heavy water which made anyone who drank the water lose their self and their mind and will. The rare heavy water came from a spring in the Andes mountains.
An earthquake had opened the underground river near a mountain village. The villagers began drinking from the spring and soon became mindless and lost their will. The only villager who didn't drink from the spring was an old holy man who couldn't walk far enough to the spring. He became the leader of the village by default.
He was the only one in the village who could tell everyone what to do to keep the village going. When he got too sick to go to the village meeting, the villagers waited for him until they died of thirst.
A party of explorers found the village and the old man barely alive who lived just long enough to tell the explorers the story. The party took samples of the water and began experimenting with the rare water. A little girl stumbles into the research grounds and the researchers use her as a test subject.
The family and some concerned parties tracked the girl down to a hidden research property and found and saved the girl, but it was too late since the researchers had already given her the heavy water which rendered her lifeless. She would only respond to direct commands to do something.
This rare water seemed to induce a state of permanent and irreversible depressive catatonia.
I read this novel in the 1970s when I was a senior in high school. The book had the little girl's head and face on the cover and the word "analog" or "analogue" in the title.