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Peru's Alarming Water Truth

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Peru's Alarming Water Truth
By James Painter In Peru
Oscar-winning Al Gore chose to call his film about global warming An Inconvenient Truth. But for Peru it is more like an alarming reality.

Government officials, water experts and environmentalists agree the rapid melting of the spectacular Andean glaciers featured in the film is threatening the long-term economic and human development of what is South America's most "water-stressed" country.

"Global warming for us is not just about the environment," warns Julio Garcia of Peru's National Council on the Environment, Conam. "It's more about how on earth we can develop Peru in a sustainable way over the coming years."

Peru's water problem lies in part in the peculiar geography of the country. Most of the Pacific coast would be desert if it were not for the water flowing down from the Andes.

Seventy per cent of the population live along the coast, where less than 2% of the country's water r…