International Development News
Development News Edition

World unprepared for impact of climate change on mountain water supplies - experts

World unprepared for impact of climate change on mountain water supplies - experts
Image Credit: ANI

The world faces increased flooding, droughts and possible conflicts due to the effects of climate change on freshwater supplies drawn from mountains but is "woefully unprepared" to tackle these risks, experts said. Mountain-sourced water supplies, which provide about half of all drinking water worldwide, is becoming more unpredictable as warmer temperatures melt glaciers and change precipitation patterns and river levels, affecting countries unevenly.

In some areas, such as the Alps, extra water from glaciers has caused flash floods while shrinking snow cover in the Andes has led to droughts in places like Chile. Scientists gathered for a "High Mountain Summit" at the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in Geneva this week are seeking better cooperation between governments, researchers and space agencies.

"We are woefully underprepared. Our infrastructure was built in the 19th and 20th centuries in the mountains and downstream of the mountains and we don't have that climate anymore," said John Pomeroy, a professor at Canada's University of Saskatchewan, who is co-chairing the event. Switzerland, the host country, estimates that damage to its infrastructure, including railways, caused by climate change could cost 1 billion Swiss francs ($1 billion) a year. But many poorer countries experiencing similar challenges are unlikely to have funds on that scale to fix problems.

"There are quite some gaps not only in the way our infrastructure has been designed but also the infrastructure we have in place to monitor for change," said Carolina Adler, executive director of the Mountain Research Initiative at the University of Bern who is the summit's other chair. To cope with the effects of climate change on water systems, dams will have to be redesigned and irrigation systems overhauled, Pomeroy added.

SENSITIVE DATA Unlike weather data, which U.N. member states have shared voluntarily with the WMO for decades, the pooling of data on the water is in its infancy.

One challenge will be persuading governments to commit to sharing more information on hydrology. One official described this as "very sensitive", with some governments deeming this a question of national security. Adler said cooperation was nonetheless required to avoid tensions -- such as those between India and Pakistan over water supplies after New Delhi released water from a dam in August -- and to avert conflict.

The summit is expected to create the Integrated High Mountain Observation and Prediction Project intended to help deal with hazards through early warning systems, according to a draft list of aims seen by Reuters. It also urges greater collaboration between space agencies on satellite images of mountain areas.

"We may decide that some communities are located in inherently dangerous situations and need to be moved and migration may be part of this, so these are very serious considerations," said Pomeroy. ($1 = 0.9957 Swiss francs) (Editing by Gareth Jones)

Also Read: Scientists discover big storms can create 'stormquakes'

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



'No escape from telephones', this 1953 prediction actually comes true

In 1953, a telephone company chief predicted that therell be no escape from telephones in the future....

With Ayodhya verdict, CJI starts clearing high profile pending cases

Ending all the speculations, the Chief Justice of India Mr. Ranjan Gogoi who is due to retire on November 17 decided to deliver the verdict in Ayodya dispute at 10.30 am on Saturday which is not a working day for the Supreme Court. This is ...

How partnerships and collaborations could enhance teacher training

Monica Malhotra Kandhari, Managing Director, MBD Group shares her views on public private partnership and collaborations in education sector. She supports her propositions with her organisations success stories....

Fixed Test centers would facelift level of WTC in India

The venues for the test matches in India should be fixed so that World Test Championship matches remain fair....


Latest News

Tennis-Thiem beats Djokovic in thriller to reach semis

Austrias Dominic Thiem booked a semi-final spot at the ATP Finals with a stunning victory over Novak Djokovic in the standout match of the tournament so far on Tuesday.The world number five ripped winners all over the 02 Arenas blue court t...

Kaepernick to work out for NFL teams on Saturday

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who last played in the NFL in 2016, will have a private workout for teams on Saturday in Atlanta. Teams were informed by the league that the 32-year-old Kaepernick will do on-field work and be available for an ...

Bolivian Senator Anez takes office as interim president

Bolivian Senator Jeanine Anez declared herself interim president of the South American country in Congress on Tuesday despite a lack of a quorum to appoint her in a legislative session boycotted by lawmakers from former president Evo Morale...

UPDATE 3-Tesla to build first European plant in Berlin, Musk says

Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said on Tuesday the electric-car maker will build its first European factory as well as an engineering and design center in Berlin.By building a plant in Germany, Tesla will be able to add the Mad...

Give Feedback