Chile has glaciers in abundance and they provide it with one of the world’s largest reserves of fresh water outside the north and south poles. But the glaciers are melting fast, and the drought means they’re not being topped up with as much snowfall as before.
Aquifers are being pumped dry because they aren’t replenishing at a rate that matches abstraction.
56 communes have had a decree of water scarcity issued covering five regions of Chile: Coquimbo, Valparaíso, Metropolitana, O'Higgins and Maule. 116 communes have been declared agricultural emergency zones.
People have started to protest, although these peaceful if disruptive demonstrations were quickly closed down by police.