KATHMANDU, Nepal–Despite of retreating glaciers, the amount of water supplied by the Himalayan Mountains will increase in the coming decades, a new finding suggested.
A study from Future Water, Utrecht University, Netherlands and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) also suggested thatglacier- and snowmelt contribute water to ten important river basins originating from the Himalayas and in the Tibetan Plateau serving over 1.3 billion people.
The findings will be published in Nature Climate Change.
A group of scientists assessed the importance of melt water for the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Salween and Mekong rivers and discovered how climate change will alter river flow in the coming decades. The findings of the study will be important in shaping climate change adaptation policy in the twelve riparian countries surrounding these river basins.
The scientists used a new model to study the entire river basins in unprecedented detail. “Our results show that the river flow will increase at least until 2050, despite retreating glaciers,” says Arthur Lutz, a researcher at Future Water and a PhD candidate at Utrecht University.
Adaptation to changes
The findings are part of a larger research programme titled Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme. According to Arun Shrestha from ICIMOD in Nepal, “Findings will help in tailoring climate change adaptation policies to protect people and their livelihoods.”