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Bolivia wants drinking water for everyone

March 23, 2010 — Facing devastating shortages, Bolivia wants the U.N. to make access to safe drinking water a basic human right.

Marking World Water Day on Monday, Bolivian President Evo Morales announced that he has decided to ask the United Nations to make access to water a 'universal human right.'

Morales is known for his environmental advocacy, and he says the declaration would put political backing behind necessary actions to get safe drinking water to the more than one billion people worldwide who currently do not have access.

'Declare access to potable water and basic sanitation a universal human right so that states in the U.N. move forward in respects to this right,' he said.

Despite recent government efforts to provide clean water to all citizens, it is estimated that 30 per cent of Bolivians lack access to potable water.

'We don't have water. Many of us struggle with water. Recently, we have been sending the kids to school dirty because there is not enough water,' said one local woman.

Some say the lack of water is connected to Global climate change and the El Nino effect. Rain patterns have shifted in Bolivia in recent years, causing long droughts and rising temperatures. That, in turn, is causing the Andean glaciers to melt. Those glaciers provide 40 per cent of the drinking water in La Paz.

Current projections indicate that most Andean glaciers will disappear in the next 30 years.

In addition, the population in the La Paz region is expected to double by 2050, which will only increase the water needs.

For more details on this story, make sure you tune into The Weather Network on TV. Our newscast comes up at :12 and :42 minutes past each hour.

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