Water shortages feared as snow persistence in Hindu Kush Himalaya hits record low


PTI, Jun 17, 2024, 8:27 AM IST

The Hindu Kush Himalaya is experiencing significantly lower snow persistence this year, raising serious concern over water security for downstream communities, according to a new report.

Leading experts from the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a Nepal-based intergovernmental organisation, have urged water management officials to initiate drought management strategies and preemptive emergency water supply measures.

Snow levels are almost a fifth below normal across the region this year, with drastic declines in the west. Snow persistence has dropped significantly in critical river basins like the Ganga, Brahmaputra, and Indus, posing a severe threat to water supply for millions.

‘We have seen a pattern of decreasing amounts and persistence of snow across the Hindu Kush Himalaya, with 13 of the past 22 years registering lower-than-normal seasonal snow persistence,’ said ICIMOD specialist Sher Muhammad.

Experts emphasize the urgency of updating drought management plans and increasing rainwater harvesting. Proactive measures and international cooperation are essential to ensure the region’s water security and resilience to climate change.

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