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100-year action plan for Himalayan glaciers

india Updated: Sep 02, 2009 15:50 IST
Arun Joshi

A 100-year action plan to mitigate the impact of climate change on the health of the Himalayan glaciers in J&K basin is all set to be launched by next month. Environmentalists and scientists of the United Kingdom and Kashmir University have joined hands to conduct an extensive study on the issue.

The study aimed at 'narrowing down’ the uncertainties of the rise in temperatures and its impact on big and small glaciers spread all across the Himalayas, especially in Jammu and Kashmir basins, will bring a picture of 2100 into the attention of the policy makers.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Dr Shakeel A Romshoo, Convenor of the Working Group on climate change research at the University of Kashmir, said that the study "Climate Change Modeling, Cryosphere Dynamicsand Impact Studies in Himalayas" will be conducted in collaboration with the UK Metrological office .

"Essentially, it would study the impact on services like hydro-power and tourism," he said, explaining that today J&K has the potential to generate 20,000 MWs of power, but it has to be determined whether the same set of the water resources would be available in the next 50 years.

"We might put up huge infrastructure for hydro- power- clean energy , but it is to be seen whether we will have water required for that,” Dr. Romshoo said. "It is to end that uncertainty, which will form part of the study”, which will also involve. Dr. Joseph Intsiful, Dr. Baski Bhaskaran and Dr. Witham Claire from the UK Met Office.

Likewise, it would be seen whether the Dal lake will have the same level of water in next few years, or will Lidder flow with the same speed as Kashmir is unimaginable without water.

There are thousands of glaciers in J&K basisn, fore example, there are 250 glaciers in Suru , 300 in Zanskar in Kargil, and many others in Leh, including Siachen.

"Our Chenab basin is rich with the glaciers,” Romshoo said. The study would take three to five years and it would start from next month itself.

This study gains extraordinary importance, in view of the receding glaciers and the shortfall in the water across Jammu ands Kashmir. Already, many streams in hills have been reduced to a thin trickle and springs have dried up.

"It is an issue that confronts – rich and poor, resident of towns and vcillages alike," Kashmir university vice chancellor Riyaz Punjabi said. "It is time to wake up,” he said before the catastrophe strikes posterity.