Melting Andean Glaciers May Leave South America High & Dry

According to a recent report, about 99 percent of the Chacaltaya glacier in Bolivia has disappeared since 1940. Such loss of glaciers in the Andes mountain range is threatening the water supply of 30 million people in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador, leaving mountain communities, agriculture, and entire ecosystems high and dry. For example, as noted in the report:

“…Large cities in the region depend on glacial runoffs for their water supply. Quito, Ecuador’s capital city, draws 50 percent of its water supply from the glacial basin, and Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, draws 30 percent of its water supply.

The volume of the lost glacier surfaces of Peru is equivalent to about 10 years of water supply for Lima.

…Power supplies also will be affected as most countries in the Andes are dependent on hydroelectric power generation. Peru gets 81 percent of its electricity from hydropower, Colombia generates 73 percent from hydropower, Ecuador is 72 percent hydro-dependent, and Bolivia, 50 percent….”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, May 7th, 2008 at 2:58 pm and is filed under Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru.  You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.  Both comments and pings are currently closed. 

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