Drinking Water and Irrigation

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Many communities depend on glacial meltwater each spring and summer for their drinking water. In tropical regions, the glaciers melt year-round, supplying drinking water to people and animals that would not have any other source of water for survival. According to the WWF, the Himalayan glaciers alone provide a year-round supply of water to more than 2 billion people. In the Ganga, if glaciers further shrink, up to 500 million people may suffer from a shortage of drinking water. There are multitudes of people in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru who also rely heavily on glacial meltwater as their source of drinking water. In addition to drinking water, glacial meltwater is also frequently used to irrigate crops. Areas such as South America and Central Asia rely heavily on glacial meltwater for these purposes.

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