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Why Bogotá Should Worry About Its Water

Colombia’s capital depends on a unique ecosystem called páramos for its water supply. Environmental advocates warn that the páramos are now threatened by climate change and other factors.
The Chuza River flows into the Chuza Reservoir in Chingaza National Park, Bogotá's main source of water.
The Chuza River flows into the Chuza Reservoir in Chingaza National Park, Bogotá's main source of water. John Vizcaino/Reuters

Colombia’s capital Bogotá relies on a unique ecosystem called páramos for its water. The tropical plants and moss in the páramo act like a sponge, trapping moisture from the foggy air, storing it in the soil during the dry season, and releasing it gradually.

One páramo, in Chingaza National Park east of Bogotá, provides the city with 70 percent of its water. The remaining amount is from the páramos named Sumapaz, to the south of the city, and Guerrero, to the north.