Bolivia's worst drought in 25 years is having a devastating impact on families and agriculture in one of Latin America's most independent nations.
Bolivia has undergone a major transformation in recent years, turning around its once failing economy into one of the fastest growing in the region. In the past few months alone, it also massively increased education spending and stood up to the Rothschild-owned banking institutions. However, all that success has come amid a major water crisis, fueled by both climactic changes and decades of mismanagement. Now, the crisis has become so severe that the Bolivian government was forced to declare a state of emergency as nearly 70% of Bolivians now lack access to sufficient drinking water.
Even in Bolivia’s capital La Paz, the situation is no better as the city’s 800,000 residents only have access to water once every three days for just 3 hours. This extreme water rationing was recently declared to be permanent. The three dams that have supplied La Paz with water for decades are now running dry, with one operating at just 1% capacity while the other two hover around 8%. Over half of all other Bolivian cities have declared their own state of emergency due to the drought. Scientists have said that the main cause of the crisis has been the melting of Bolivia’s glaciers, which provide water for more than 2 million Bolivians. Over the last thirty years, Bolivian glaciers have shrunk by over 40 percent and the problem is expected to worsen. Bolivia’s Minister of Rural Development, Cesar Cocarico, echoed this sentiment when he warned Bolivians that “the worst is to come in the months ahead.”
Bolivia’s economy, which has experienced impressive growth in recent years, has also been strongly impacted by the drought. The Agricultural and forestry industries, which employ 44% of the country’s workers, have been especially hard hit. According to Bolivia’s government, as many as 716,605 acres (290,000 hectares) have been gravely impacted by the drought. An estimated $390 million is expected to be lost as a result.
The shortage has put many Bolivians on edge as protests regarding the shortage have become commonplace. Residents of El Alto, near the capital, briefly held the water authorities hostage to force the government to explain its plans to address the crisis. At a press conference, Bolivia’s president Evo Morales, said that Bolivia has “to be prepared for the worst,” but noted that the current crisis is an opportunity to “plan large investments” to adapt to the effects climate change is having on the national water supply. However, not all of Morales’ investment ideas have been well received, causing some to doubt these promises. In addition, Morales has called on local governments to devote resources and workers to the transportation of waters from wells to cities as well as the drilling of wells. With fresh water becoming an increasingly scant resource globally, despite its necessity for all forms of life, Bolivia’s situation could soon be repeating itself in nations around the world.
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