Colombia, of all places, facing water shortages


For years, peasant farmers have climbed high into southern Colombia’s Gran Macizo mountains to cut wood for heating and cooking, and to clear land for coca and poppy cultivation. As a result, vast tracts of forest disappear annually in the Gran Macizo. And rainwater, cascading down the denuded slopes rather than being retained, is lost to human use, no longer available to irrigate the corn, fruit and sugarcane crops below. Lacking the water they need, thousands of farmers have fled to the cities. “It’s like in Rwanda or Somalia, where people pick up their families and migrate in search of the resources,” says Juan Carlos Maya, environmental director for the state of Cauca, which lies in the Gran Macizo. Other farmers have taken to stealing... [Log in to read more]

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