As Himalayas melt, water scarcity will impact 1 billion people in South Asia: Study

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The rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers and the consequent effects will disrupt the lives of nearly 13 percent of the global population or 1 billion people in South Asia, the study said.

As Himalayas melt, water scarcity will impact 1 billion people in South Asia: Study
One in eight people in the world will suffer water shortage issues by 2050 as the majestic snow-clad Himalaya-Karakoram mountain ranges lose their glaciers due to global warming.
While the melting glaciers will increase the water level of rivers in the short term, in long term it will lead to acute water scarcity in the South Asian nations. Countries like India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan stand to face issues of water security, reveals a new multinational study by researchers in Indore, Roorkee, Delhi, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Nepal.
The water level in the Himalaya-Karakoram rivers will increase till 2050 and thereafter, the rivers will start running dry. The study underlines these rivers recharge from the melting of glaciers, groundwater flow, and seasonal rainfall.

Jeffrey Kargel, a co-author of the study and a senior scientist at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, explained the impact of melting glaciers using 'bank account' analogy.

When more and more ice will melt, the water level of the rivers originating from the Himalaya-Karakoram mountains will increase initially, he explained. But, in the long run, during long summer seasons, the water will dry up. It is just like a bank account that will have an increased cash flow initially but run dry in the long run.

If air pollution goes on unabated, there will be no ice glaciers left, the groundwater will dry up, and there will be long periods of no rainfall, leaving the rivers devoid of any water source, he said.

This concluded that the warming of the Himalaya-Karakoram mountains will also affect farming and other livelihoods while increasing the risk of floods.

The rapid melting of glaciers and the consequent effects will disrupt the lives of nearly 13 percent of the global population or 1 billion people in South Asia, the study said.

The residents of megacities like Delhi, Lahore, Karachi, Kolkata and Dhaka will face the brunt of fast-melting glaciers due to greenhouse gas emissions.

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