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Doomsday stares at river basin

Experts voice concern
Kathmandu, Nov. 16: It is a doomsday scenario for the upper Brahmaputra river basin with experts saying that over the next 50 years it will face rising temperatures, shortage of water and a decrease in snowfall because of climate change.
Figures revealed by scientists of the Brahmatwinn project at an international symposium here last week projected that the annual precipitation in the basin would be 15 per cent between 2051-2080 compared to nine per cent between 2011-2040.
The mean monthly discharge of water will be 23 per cent in 2051-2080 compared to 15 per cent in 2011-2040. Similarly, the mean annual air temperature will be 8.8 degrees Celsius between 2011 and 2040, whereas between 2051 and 2080 it will be 10 degrees Celsius.
The upper Brahmaputra river basin is defined in this project as the stretch upstream of Guwahati.
A paper presented by Monika Prasch stated that in the future climate scenario there would be less water in the river basin because of less precipitation and less snowfall.
There is an increasing concern that global climate change is threatening to alter hydrological domains, both in terms of natural and socio-economic processes.
The revelations come after three years of scientific research done by a research consortium of institutions across Asia and Europe for the Brahmatwinn project.
The European Commission had funded the project which calls for twinning of European and South Asian river basins to enhance capacity and implement adaptive integrated water resources management approaches.
The two-day conference that began on November 8 was held in the office of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) — a regional knowledge development and learning centre serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas.
The countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.
“The scenario is alarming and calls for corrective steps,” Nayan Sarma, head of department of water resources development and management, IIT Roorkee, who is the India partner for the Brahmatwinn project, told The Telegraph.
Sarma said for effective steps like rigorous watershed management, soil erosion needs to be identified, and a holistic river management programme is required.
“These problems can lead to social unrest,” he warned.
A River Basin Information System for the Brahmaputra has been developed under the project which has predicted the future of the basin till 2080.
Sarma said adaptation strategies were therefore needed to tackle threats posed by climate change and integrated water resource management (IWRM) had been identified internationally as a suitable tool in trans-boundary basins to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change on water systems and their consequences for people, businesses, society, economy and environment.
The underlying objective of the project is to promote the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management, a process that promotes co-ordinated development and management of water, land and related resources to maximise economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems.
Another problem identified for the Brahmaputra basin is the competitive water demands between water users and the up and downstream conflicts.
Irrigation accounts for 81 per cent of water withdrawal from the Brahmaputra. Transboundary water issues have still not been resolved.
Prof. Wolfgang Flugel of Friedrich-Schiller University at Jena in Germany said exchange of information is an essential strategy which needs to be implemented to provide all partners with same relevant baseline information.
“Temperatures in both the upper Danube and upper Brahmaputra river basins will continue to rise and glaciers will continue to melt,” he said.
The Assam delegation was represented by officials, researchers and scientists.
Experts voice concern
Kathmandu, Nov. 16: It is a doomsday scenario for the upper Brahmaputra river basin with experts saying that over the next 50 years it will face rising temperatures, shortage of water and a decrease in snowfall because of climate change.
Figures revealed by scientists of the Brahmatwinn project at an international symposium here last week projected that the annual precipitation in the basin would be 15 per cent between 2051-2080 compared to nine per cent between 2011-2040.
The mean monthly discharge of water will be 23 per cent in 2051-2080 compared to 15 per cent in 2011-2040. Similarly, the mean annual air temperature will be 8.8 degrees Celsius between 2011 and 2040, whereas between 2051 and 2080 it will be 10 degrees Celsius.
The upper Brahmaputra river basin is defined in this project as the stretch upstream of Guwahati.
A paper presented by Monika Prasch stated that in the future climate scenario there would be less water in the river basin because of less precipitation and less snowfall.
There is an increasing concern that global climate change is threatening to alter hydrological domains, both in terms of natural and socio-economic processes.
The revelations come after three years of scientific research done by a research consortium of institutions across Asia and Europe for the Brahmatwinn project.
The European Commission had funded the project which calls for twinning of European and South Asian river basins to enhance capacity and implement adaptive integrated water resources management approaches.
The two-day conference that began on November 8 was held in the office of International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) — a regional knowledge development and learning centre serving the eight regional member countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayas.
The countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan.
“The scenario is alarming and calls for corrective steps,” Nayan Sarma, head of department of water resources development and management, IIT Roorkee, who is the India partner for the Brahmatwinn project, told The Telegraph.
Sarma said for effective steps like rigorous watershed management, soil erosion needs to be identified, and a holistic river management programme is required.
“These problems can lead to social unrest,” he warned.
A River Basin Information System for the Brahmaputra has been developed under the project which has predicted the future of the basin till 2080.
Sarma said adaptation strategies were therefore needed to tackle threats posed by climate change and integrated water resource management (IWRM) had been identified internationally as a suitable tool in trans-boundary basins to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change on water systems and their consequences for people, businesses, society, economy and environment.
The underlying objective of the project is to promote the concept of Integrated Water Resources Management, a process that promotes co-ordinated development and management of water, land and related resources to maximise economic and social welfare in an equitable manner without compromising the sustainability of vital ecosystems.
Another problem identified for the Brahmaputra basin is the competitive water demands between water users and the up and downstream conflicts.
Irrigation accounts for 81 per cent of water withdrawal from the Brahmaputra. Transboundary water issues have still not been resolved.
Prof. Wolfgang Flugel of Friedrich-Schiller University at Jena in Germany said exchange of information is an essential strategy which needs to be implemented to provide all partners with same relevant baseline information.
“Temperatures in both the upper Danube and upper Brahmaputra river basins will continue to rise and glaciers will continue to melt,” he said.
The Assam delegation was represented by officials, researchers and scientists.