Climate change will drastically reduce the flow of snow and ice meltwater in the Himalayas, threatening the food security of more than 60 million Asians, warn ecological researchers.
The Indus and Brahmaputra basins are expected to be the most adversely affected, while in the Yellow River basin the availability of irrigation water will actually increase.
More than one billion people depend on the meltwater supplied by the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yangtze and Yellow River.
“The role of meltwater in the Indus basin is much more significant than that in other river basins in Asia,” said Walter Immerzeel, hydrologist at Utrecht University and FutureWater in the Netherlands.
The snow and ice reserves situated upstream are important in sustaining the availability of water downstream.