Water Crisis: Why Water Shortage in North India? Scientists Told the Real Reason

By News From 360

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Water Crisis: Snow is decreasing in the Himalayas. Due to this, snow has decreased in the Ganga river basin. It is 17 percent less. It has become worse as compared to the year 2018. Then a 15 percent decrease was recorded. That is, the water flow of the Ganga river has decreased by 17 percent.

This report has been released by Nepal-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). The snow of the Himalayas is the main source of water for 24 crore people living in the hilly and plain areas. There has been less snowfall than normal on the Hindukush mountains.

ICIMOD Water Crisis

When 23% of the snow melts in the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH), water flows in 12 major river basins. But apart from this, the water flow in different rivers changes. For example, the snow melting from the Hindu Kush Himalayas contributes 74% of the flow in the Amu Darya River. It contributes 77% of the flow in the Helmand River and 40% of the flow in the Indus River. 

Less Water in Ganga Means Millions of Lives are Ruined

Ganga River Basin… There has been a lot of change in the water flow of Ganga River in the last 22 years. Before 2024, the least snow was accumulated in this basin in the year 2018. Then it was 15.2 percent. Whereas in 2015, the maximum snow was 25.6 percent. Due to less snowfall this year, it has reduced to 17 percent.

Let us Know How Little Snowfall is there on other Rivers? 

Little Snowfall on Rivers
GANGOTRI, UTTARAKHAND, INDIA – 2015/05/30: Gaumukh, the main source of the holy river Ganges, is located at the break-off edge of the Bhaghirati Glacier. (Photo by Frank Bienewald/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Amu Darya River Basin… In the year 2018, there was 17.7 percent snow. In 2008, there was the highest snow of 32.1 percent here but this year it has decreased to 28.2 percent, which is less than normal. Due to this, this river basin will get less water than in previous years. 

Brahmaputra River Basin… The least snowfall was recorded in the year 2021. There was 15.5 percent less snowfall here. The maximum record is of 2019. Then there was 27.1 percent snowfall. But this year there is only 14.6 percent here. Which is much less than normal. 

Helmand River Basin… An average of 41.9 percent snowfall has been recorded since 2018. But the maximum in 2020 was 44 percent. This year it has decreased to 31.8 percent. Which is less than normal. That means people are going to get less water in this river basin too.

Indus River Basin… The least snowfall occurred in 2018. Then it was 9.4 percent less than the average. In 2020 it was recorded at 15.5 percent. But this year it is 23.3 percent less than normal. This means there is going to be a huge shortage of water in Pakistan. 

Irrawaddy River Basin… Snowfall in this basin fluctuates. But in the 22 years before 2023, it has remained around 15 percent or below. In 2023, it was 19.2 percent. In 2017, it was 12.5 percent less than the average. This was the lowest. This year it is 2.4 percent less than normal.  

Mekong River Basin… Here both the water flow and snowfall have increased in the last few years. In the year 2021, it was 38.4 percent less than the average. But the snowfall in 2019 and 2020 broke records. It was 68.8 and 52.5 percent respectively. This year only 1.1 percent less snowfall than normal has been recorded.

Salween River Basin… Like the Mekong, the least snowfall was recorded here in 2021. 28 percent less than normal. In 20219 and 2020, there was 30.6 and 35 percent snowfall here. This year there has been 2.4 percent less snowfall than normal. 

Tarim River Basin… Here the highest snowfall was 26.6 and 28.5 percent in 2003 and 2006. This year the snowfall has decreased. This year 27.8 percent snowfall has been recorded.

What is the Real Reason Behind Water Shortage?  

Scientists have warned that melting ice accounts for about a quarter of the total water flow in the 12 major river valleys of the region. This is a warning for researchers, policy makers and the people. 

The risk of water shortage has increased due to less snow accumulation and fluctuations in snow level. Scientists say that climate change is causing irregular rainfall. Weather patterns are changing. This year the snow level in the Hindukush and Himalaya region has gone down by about one-fifth of the normal.