Water Supply of 16 Asian Countries Threatened by Climate Change
The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region is the source of 10 major rivers, and these water towers provide water resources for approximately 1.9 billion people.
The water and energy supplies in the region are being severely impacted by climate change, putting the lives of the two trillion people who live in 16 Asian countries at serious risk. Asia now has a serious concern about the Hindu Kush-Himalayan water system being affected by climate change.
As the Hindu Kush-Himalayan basin is impacted by climate change, a concerted effort is required to conserve regional water flows that could otherwise result in a severe scenario in the region, notably in India. Ten major rivers originate in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region, which is home to 1.9 trillion people and produces an annual GDP of $4.3 trillion.
The Ganges and Brahmaputra, which flow into India and Bangladesh, the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers in China, as well as transnational waterways like the Mekong and the Salween, are among the ten rivers.
Managing emissions to mitigate water risks
According to a study conducted by the China Water Risk Think Group, the region is already facing “grave threats” from climate change effects like glacial melt and extreme weather. The think tank emphasised that the difficulties were getting worse as a result of the development of water-intensive energy infrastructure and that all rivers would face “escalating and compounding water risks… if we are unable to rein in emissions.”
In the 16 countries that are still mostly dependent on fossil fuels for their energy needs, rivers are recognised for supporting and assisting 75% of hydropower and 44% of coal-fired power. According to the experts, more than 300 GW, or enough electricity to power Japan, is located in areas with “high” or “extremely high” water hazards.
In contrast, about 15% of China’s electrical capacity and about a third of the country’s population are supported by the Yangtze River basin. Last year, a record-breaking drought affected the area, and the region’s decreased hydroelectric output disrupted international supply lines.
Countries are under pressure to develop policies that assure the “dovetailing” of energy and water security as climate risks increase, the researchers warned.
Over a billion people will be impacted if the melting of the Himalayan glaciers continues, according to research from last year. According to a study conducted by a team from IIT-Indore, melting glaciers and snow are significant factors in the area, and if they continue through the century, they may eventually stop providing water completely.