The Himalayas, A Special Report
With one-fifth of the world’s population relying on seasonal Himalayan melting, the disappearance of the Third Pole is sending warning signs.
Floods, droughts, wildfires, windstorms, water contamination and illnesses plague the 1.3 billion people who live in the watersheds directly supplied by glacial melt from the Hindu Kush-Himalaya (HKH) region. The waterways of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan are endangered, and scientists are gaining a bettter understanding of just how fast climate change is taking its toll on the region.
As the Himalayan glaciers disappear, ten major Asian river systems–the Amu Darya, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, Salween, Mekong, Yangtse, Yellow, and Tarim–are threatened. Twenty percent of the world’s population faces a future of catastrophe, according to a report released by University College, Chinadialogue, and King’s College of London in May 2010. Extreme glacial melt, seismic activity and extreme weather events are already affecting the region’s rivers, lakes, wetlands and coasts. The devastation is a warning sign of what’s to come.
In these feature articles, news briefs, photographs, and graphics Circle of Blue documents one of the critical front lines in the global battle against climate change and water scarcity.
More research needed to understand risk of glacial floods.
Photographic and scientific evidence shows that the melting third pole is still devastating the region
Growing supply and demand gaps.
Asia faces unprecedented water challenges, experts say, but solutions are within reach.
Habitat loss, water diversion projects, and modern life threaten unknown primate.
Pollution and global warming threaten Asia’s most important freshwater source.
While the superpower announces ambitious sustainability goals, it faces droughts and intensive energy needs.
Less precipitation + more extreme droughts = electricity shortages.
Study shows 2007 discharges were double previous estimates.
China plans to build a string of new dams throughout Tibet.
Landslides killed thousands in Asia last week; NASA researchers are developing a tool for relief efforts.
Misery in Pakistan mounts as flooding hinders relief efforts; threatens to spread waterborne diseases.
Heavy monsoon rains in Pakistan have caused rivers to overflow—triggering landslides, destroying villages and blocking rescue efforts.
Chemical pollution is the latest calamity as heavy rains continue to blanket the country with floods.
The world’s largest energy consuming country is plagued by potential ecological damage.
This is the second time the court has promoted the mega-project that would link the major rivers in the north with those in the south as a way to better manage water, moving it from areas of perceived surplus to areas without sufficient supplies.
U.S. aid projects focus on city water systems, clean drinking water, dam construction and irrigation.
India strives to redirect water, currently used for Pakistani agriculture, on the Kishanganga River for 330 megawatts.
Pakistan officials argue India’s dam-building violate the Indus River Treaty.
Indus River System Authority discuss the Sindh province’s accusation that Punjab is stealing water.
No agreement was signed, but Bangladesh continued to push for a deal similar to the Ganges Treaty.
Images from the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region–including Bhutan, Nepal, China, Tibet and India
Images from space including the Ganges River in the Himalayas and the Fox Basin in the Canadian Arctic.
Study shows 2007 discharges were double previous estimates.
The river pollution could come from any of six Southeast Asian countries inhabiting 300 million people.
Pakistan’s first urban rainwater harvesting system has been installed in the capital city Islamabad.
Improved irrigation systems and water infrastructure projects are primary goals.
An American firm is negotiating for the exclusive rights to sell Bhutanese mineral water outside of South Asia.
India is taking major steps to alleviate the effects of its devastating drought.
One of the reasons that climate change is such a big issue is because the global climate is an integral part of the Earth’s entire ecosystem, tied to so many of the big and little things that society cares about.
Fierce heat has allegedly killed dozens as country awaits arrival of monsoons.
A volatile mix in Asia.
Nearly 1.5 million people in the Hunan and Guangdong provinces have reported drinking water shortages.
Agriculture in South and Southeast Asia affected by increasing temperatures and erratic water.
Severe weather impacts could compromise tea farming for two of the world’s biggest players in the industry.
A new variety of rice might prepare India’s agriculture for a drier future.
The price rose to a three-year high of 19.4 cents per-pound.
Monsoon rainfall is the lowest in over 20 years.
Significantly reduced tea production in comparison with the first three months of 2008.
China has not seen weather this dry in 50 years.
The Nepalese government plans to improve sanitation access to combat water-borne diseases.
A recent survey on sanitation in India’s cities reveals the need for dramatic changes.
Torrential rains are causing deaths and wreaking havoc in several regions of China.
- Asia Society Asia’s Next Challenge: Securing the Region’s Water Future
- China Daily
- David Brashear, Asia Society Museum Rivers of Ice: Vanishing Glaciers of the Greater Himalayas
- Dr. Ravinder Kumar: Case Study Climate Change and its impact on Himalayan Glaciers
- Indian Ministry of Urban Development India’s National Urban Sanitation Policy Ranks Cties on Basis of 19 Factors
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): Fourth Assessment Report Assessment of climate change on globe: physical science; impact, adaptation and vulnerability; mitigation
- International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) Formation of Glacial Lakes in the Hindu Kush-Himalayas and GLOF Risk Assessment
- International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) Impact of Climate Change on Himalayan Glaciers and Glacial Lakes: Case Studies on GLOF and Associated Hazards in Nepal and Bhutan
- International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Climate Change: Impact on Agriculture and Costs of Adaptation
- International Water Management Institute India’s River Linking Project: The State of the Debate Surrounding Proposal to Inter-link All Rivers
- Pacific Institute/United Nations Environment Program (UNEP Understanding and Reducing the Risks of Climate Change for Transboundary Waters
- The World Bank: East Asia and Pacific Region Addressing Water Scarcity in China
- The World Bank: South Asia Indus Water Treaty
- U.S. Department of State Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report
- United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Glacial Lake Outburst Flood Monitoring and Early Warning System
- United Nations University, Institute for Water, Environment and Health Sanitation as a Key to Global Health: Voices from the Field
- University College and King’s College, London The Waters of the Third Pole: Sources of Threat, Sources of Survival
- World Health Organization (WHO) Indian Sanitation and Drinking Water Statistics and Trends
- World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) Mekong Dolphins on the Brink of Extinction
- World Wildlife Foundation (WWF): Living Himalayas Initiative The Cost of Climate Change: The Story of Thorthormi Glacial Lake in Bhutan
- Asia Times
- Associated Press of Pakistan
- Channel News Asia
- Daily Times Your Right to Know: A New Voice for Pakistan
- Gulf News
- Hindustan India
- HindustanTimes India
- Indian Express
- Kuensel Online Bhutan
- Outlook India
- Press Trust of India
- Sify News India
- The Assam Tribune India
- The Daily Star Bangladesh
- The Hindu India’s National Newspaper
- The Nation Pakistan
- The National Abu Dhabi
- The Times of India
- United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) Environmental News on Glaciers and Himalayas
- XinhuaNews China
- Water Management is a Money Issue, World Bank tells China
- Three Gorges Dam Causes Havoc as Water Levels Rise
- Chinese Artists Portray Three Gorges Emigration
- Op-ed — Chenab waters and Pakistan’s fear
- Op-ed: Not a ‘natural’ disaster
- Irrigation an irritation as Indians, Nepalis cope with monsoon season
- Bankers in India doing rain dance beneath money tree
- Arsenic-laced well water poisons Indian rice supply
- Scarce water a developing source of conflict in India
- Three Gorges exodus complete
- Up the Yangtze depicts social complexity of China’s Three Gorges Dam
- Food and water shortages force Afghans to leave homes
- Some in Pakistan not worried about water, for now
- After the quake, 21 lakes formed
- Up to 400 dams damaged by China quake
- India’s future drying up?
- Water shortage sparks protest
- Toxic water panics Indians
- China tests water after 200 sickened