Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Report warns of massive water depletion in Himalayan sub-region within 20 years

The Himalayan Times: Himalayan river basins in Bangladesh, China, India and Nepal will face depletion of about 275 billion cubic metres of annual renewable water in the next 20 years, warns a report. The Strategic Foresight Group’s — an India-based think tank — report titled ‘The Himalayan Challenge: Water Security in Emerging Asia, has said this amounts to more than the total water volume in Nepal at present.

The report warns that wheat and rice yields will decline in China and India by up to 50 percent, while demand for food grains will increase by 20 percent. Fresh water availability will fall in all four countries because of climate change, disruptive precipitation and other natural factors,” states the report. “China and India will have to import more than 200 to 300 million tonnes of wheat and rice. As a consequence, 100 to 200 million people in the Himalayan region will face the risk of displacement by 2050,” said the report.

Twenty-five experts from Bangladesh, China, India and Nepal prepared the report after surveying the Hwang Ho and Yangtze rivers in China, Karnali, Saptakoshi and Gandaki in Nepal, the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Yamuna in India and the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna in Bangladesh.

In four decades, water availability could reach potentially unsustainable levels. The Himalayan river basins are home to around 1.3 billion people comprising 20 percent of the world’s population and almost 50 percent of the total population of these countries…

Mountains in Ladakh, shot by Jochen Westermann, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

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