Water expert Aditi Mukherji: India’s drying Himalayan springs is a severe crisis

  • The Indian Himalaya has between 2-4 million Himalayan springs, and they are drying up
  • Mukherji is a coordinating lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change’s Sixth Assessment Report
  • In February, a landmark report on the effect of climate change on the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region, an area comprising 4.2 million sq. km and eight countries, sent shock waves through the world. The first comprehensive assessment of high Asia’s mountains and rivers, the report by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (Icimod), an intergovernmental organization, made for grim reading. The part of the report that made headlines around the world was the finding that Himalayan glaciers were indeed in retreat, and, given the present levels of carbon emissions, the region could lose as much as 90% of its snow and ice by 2100. This would imperil mountain communities and the millions more downstream who depend on glacial-fed rivers like the Ganga for sustenance. Aditi Mukherji, 42, principal researcher at the International Water Management Institute, was a co-editor of the report, as well as the coordinating lead author of the water chapter. This looked at the state of freshwater and groundwater in the wake of climate change impacts on the HKH. The chapter also took a critical look at the disappearance of mountain springs, a situation that the report held was as serious as glacial retreat....Read more

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