Bolivia’s ‘People of the Water’ try to survive loss of lake

PUNACA TINTA MARIA, Bolivia (AP) — For many generations, the homeland of the Uru people here wasn’t land at all: It was the brackish waters of Lake Poopo. They’d live on family islands of reeds and survive on what they could harvest from the broad, shallow lake in the highlands of southwestern Bolivia. Now what was Bolivia’s second-largest lake is gone. It dried up about five years ago, victim of shrinking glaciers, water diversions for farming and contamination. Ponds reappear in places during the rainy season. And the Uru are struggling to maintain their culture, even to revive their language.