Warming robs Bolivia of world’s highest ski slope

March 11th, 2009 - 10:18 am ICT by IANS  

La Paz (Bolivia), March 11 (EFE) Global warming has melted the snow on Bolivia’s Chacaltaya, a peak 5,395 metres above sea-level that was once home to the world’s highest ski slope.
Bolivia’s top official for the Andean Regional Project on glaciers, Jose Luis Gutierrez, said that neighbouring mountains such as Illimani and Huayna Potosi, “are affected by the same conditions” and could see their snow cover disappear in the coming years.

He called the melting process “irreversible” and pointed out that it is exacerbating existing water shortages in La Paz province.

Gutierrez said that President Evo Morales’ government has already begun a “process of adaptation” to cope with the loss of Andean glaciers that provide drinking water and hydroelectric power for the capital city and nearby El Alto area.

“The solution could be the construction of dams, compensating for the retreat of the glaciers, besides the campaigns to raise awareness” about water conservation, he said.

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