Will the communities around Mount Kilimanjaro run out of water if all the snow melts?



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    They may not totally run out of water, but certainly it will be much harder to get. There is no question that the famed “snows of Kilimanjaro” that Hemingway wrote about are fast disappearing, and that global warming is the cause. Scientists estimate that the mountain, which is one of the few tall peaks in the tropics, will be snow-free in as little as 20 years due to the increase in temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns. Already as much as 85% of the snow that was there in 1912 is gone. Kilimanjaro’s snowmelt provides runoff to rivers that serve as a source of drinking water for 2 million people, and due to the melting of the snow, these rivers have now become seasonal, sparking conflict among communities in the dry season. These communities can get water from other sources–rainfall, for instance–but being deprived of any large traditional source of water is cause for concern, especially in the developing world where large-scale conflicts over natural resources have a tendency to get out of hand.

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