Himalayan project face flood risk
Dec 05, 2016
According to an analysis of Himalayan glaciers and their possible future impact on livelihoods in States adjoining the region, Potential hydro power projects in the Himalayan region would need to factor in chances of increased floods from the formation of new lakes and the expansion of existing ones due to melting glaciers.
- 441 hydro power projects spanning India, Nepal, Pakistan and China, that is, 66 per cent of the constructed and the potential projects, are on possible Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) tracks. This means they could be gorged with extra water from melting glaciers. Almost a third of these projects could experience GLOF discharges well above what these dams account for.
- Safety features have to be accommodated:If hydro power projects were to be situated close to these glaciers, they would have to account for higher water flows. But that does not mean they cannot be built. It might need extra design or safety features.
Climate change & Himalaya:
- The region was once covered with rich pristine forests, a diverse flora and fauna, and home to innumerable medicinal plants and herbs. It is now much degraded and under tremendous stress.
- The diversity can be seen in the 13,000 species of flowering plants, of 8000 alone are in the eastern Himalayas and over 5000 species in Western Himalayas. Over 816 tree species, 675 edibles and nearly 1743 species of medicinal value are found here.
- The impact of over-exploitation of these natural resources that have increasingly led to reduced dense forest cover, accelerated soil erosion, increased silting of water bodies, drying-up of springs, and the disappearance of many species of flora and fauna.
- The Himalayas have undergone major changes in the last century. Conditions range from a critical situation in the Himalayas of Sikkim, Uttarakhand, and Kashmir to a moderately serious situation in Bhutan and the eastern Himalayas.
- Melting glaciers:The 1 deg. C. increase in temperature in the Himalayas has far-reaching impacts not only on the mountainous regions but also on the northern river-plains that depend largely on them. One of the biggest concerns is the melting of the glaciers, which are retreating at an alarming rate.