The misty páramos in the Andes that supply water to tens of millions of people are under threat. Now their mystery could be solved

In the land where the legend of El Dorado began, the race is on to solve the mystery of a vital 21st-century treasure – the water that tens of millions of people rely upon across northern South America. “It’s blue gold, and we are looking for it,” says Mauricio Diazgranados, a Colombian botanist.

The misty and marshy páramo landscapes that sit above the tree line and below the snow caps of the soaring Andes peaks are known as the living factories that ensure a steady flow of clean water to the region’s growing population.

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Read More In the land of El Dorado, clean water has become ‘blue gold’

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