Unprecedented drought left Chile’s population of 19 million people living with severe water scarcity by the end of 2021. The 13-year megadrought and the fourth driest year on record in 2021 have left the country with a national security issue.

Source: WION/Youtube

Last month a water rationing plan was announced for Santiago, the capital, and hundreds of rural communities have been forced to rely on emergency tankers to deliver drinking water, The Guardian reported.

“Water has become a national security issue – it’s that serious,” Pablo García-Chevesich, a Chilean hydrologist working at the University of Arizona, told The Guardian. “It’s the biggest problem facing the country economically, socially, and environmentally. If we don’t solve this, then water will be the cause of the next uprising.”

The public is angry, and many protests in recent years have been surrounding the drought and the disparities in who is most affected. Among the calls to the government is one to rewrite the Chilean 1981 water code, which allows people to buy and sell water allocations like stocks. The Chilean constitution even says that water rights are treated as private property.

Lakes all across the country are disappearing, including a popular tourist destination, Lake Aculeo, which disappeared entirely in 2018. In a paper that García-Chevesich was the co-author of, they found that the lake’s demise was due to the sale of water rights, local population growth, and climate change combined. In 2010, the rights to the water that supplied the lake were taken legally by agricultural plantations and private estates.

Source: Al Jazeera English/Youtube

The economy in Chile is the largest per-capita GDP in South America, but its practices are built on water-intensive industries like agriculture, mining, and forestry. 59 percent of Chile’s water resources are dedicated to forestry, but it makes up only 3 percent of the country’s GDP, The Guardian reported. Another 37 percent is for the agriculture sector, which leaves only 2 percent allocated for human consumption for the 19 million residents.

At this point, it is no secret that this and other situations like this are caused by the planet’s rapid warming and climate change. Climate change leads to extreme weather like droughts and fires. The single BEST thing you can do to save water is to stop eating meat and all animal products. Growing animals for livestock takes a massive amount of water. It takes nearly 660 gallons of water to just make one burger, which is equivalent to nearly two months of showering for the average person. On the other hand, it takes 1,000 gallons of water to make just one gallon of cow milk.

Cities all over the world from California to Vietnam are facing a climate crisis and millions of people are protesting all over the world. Read more about politics and climate change, including Manchin Restarts Talks about Climate and Social Spending Bill Previously Rejected and Climate Change Protests Take Over With Millions Continuing to Strike Across The Globe! Climate change is a top priority for young voters and we need to care about the Green New Deal.

Studies have shown that eating more plant-based can add over a decade to your lifespan, it can save the world’s forests, it benefits the environment, and it is significantly better for your health! Nations around the world have urged people to eat more plant-based to curb climate change.

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