Kashmir's glaciers receding fast
The Valley is facing a severe water crisis this summer, as south Kashmir glaciers have receded at an alarming rate due to a lower snowfall, above normal temperature and early melting of snow in the mountains.
All the major glaciers in the Valley, particularly the Kolahoi - located at a height of 17899 feet above sea level - that supplies water to the Valley round the year, have suffered a great deal. Also affected are Sheesh Nag, Thajwas, Amarnath and Zanskar in Ladakh, among others.
Vice president and spokesperson of Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) Mohammad Ashraf, who is also a former director general of tourism, is shocked at the ever-shrinking size of the glaciers.
He said some measures had to be taken to reforest the area and modify human activities in these regions to save the glaciers.
He said the Kolahoi, situated above Aroo in Pahelgam, is the main source of the river Lidder. It has receded by two to three km in the past three-four years. It is a matter of grave concern, as drying up of the Lidder will make things difficult for south Kashmir.
The Lidder is one of the major tributaries of the river Jhelum that originates from a spring in Verinag on the edges of the gateway of the Valley in south Kashmir, just north of the Pir Panjal range of the Himalayas.
Ashrad said the "Climate changed because of the increasing footfalls of humans. And many small glaciers have simply disappeared."
He strongly felt that putting an end to deforestation; stopping the nomads and their flocks and regulating the annual pilgrimage to the Amarnath cave shrine could deliver results.
The glaciers in south Kashmir ensure food security for the Valley, while the glaciers or snowfall in north Kashmir, mostly feeds the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.