Freshwater Scarcity and Management in the Mountainous Region


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Water is essential for every life on the earth and also for all kinds of socioeconomic development activities. Freshwater scarcity is a major issue in the developing world in terms of human consumption and irrigation. Water is not evenly distributed throughout the world so that some regions (particularly in south Asian countries, West Asia, North Africa or sub-Saharan Africa) are going through water scarcity problems. A major reason for water scarcity is population growth and changing climatic variability. Apart from some regions of Europe and Northern America, water is insufficient due to poor management and poor policy. However, climate change has an adverse impact on the water availability and this will increase water insecurity in the future. So, from now we have to develop efficient adaptive capacity such as storage development to conserve water. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to look into the global water demand and supply scenario exploring regional conflict and water scarcity; and to outline the local level best water management options that are beneficial for conservation and efficient use of water for better life.

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Freshwater Scarcity and Management in the Mountainous Region

  1. 1. Pabitra Gurung PhD Student (230111762) Presentation for the course NRES-802 Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (NRES) University of Northern British Columbia Prince George, BC, CANADA FRESHWATER SCARCITY AND MANAGEMENT IN THE MOUNTAINOUS REGION 4/18/2014
  2. 2. 4/18/2014  Prof. Neil Hanlon, UNBC  Prof. Bill MacGill, UNBC  Prof. Stephen Dery, UNBC  All the Colleague from this Class  Dr. Luna Bharati, Senior Researcher, IMWI-Nepal  Various online sources for the pictures (downloaded through Google search engine) Acknowledgements
  3. 3. 4/18/2014 Global Water Scarcity Regional Water Scarcity (Himalayan Regions) Local Management (Nepal) Outline of the Presentation
  4. 4. 4/18/2014 Projected Global Water Scarcity in 2025 ? Source: International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Physical and Economic water scarcity
  5. 5. 4/18/2014  Based on the UN Medium Population Projections, more than 2.8 billion people in 48 countries will face water scarcity by 2025  Of these countries, 40 countries are in West Asia, North Africa or sub-Saharan Africa  By 2050, number of water scarce countries could rise to 54 (4 billion people – about 40% of world population) Source: Population Action International ( Projected Global Water Scarcity in 2025 ?
  6. 6. 4/18/2014 Himalayas & Water Scarcity ?  Himalayas are widely known as the “Water Towers of Asia”.  Primary Water Source for a large part of Asia’s Population  75-90% of Water is used in food production Source: ICIMOD
  7. 7. 4/18/2014 Why water scarcity in the region ?  Population growth (increase households consumption of water (Current water use status: 10 – 25%))  Higher water consumption for agricultural production (to feed animals and for human consumption) (Agricultural Water Consumption: 30-50% for next few decades and 70-80% by 2050)  Impact of Climate Change on Water Resources (Climate is significantly alter the seasonality of streamflow for many Asian rivers)
  8. 8. 4/18/2014 Population Growth and Food Production in the Region ?  Nearly 100,000 children are born every day  One billion additional people will be in 2050 (growing meat consumption)  In 2050, per capita meat consumption will double and half of cereal production will be used to feed animal  Irrigated croplands (85,783,000 ha): mainly for rice production  Water from the Himalayas and the central Asian mountain support the production of over 500 Million tonnes of cereals per year (55% of Asia’s and 25% of world’s cereal production)  By 2050, global cereal production needs to be about 3000 million tonnes to meet the demand (FAO)
  9. 9. 4/18/2014 Water Resources and Climate of the Region ? River basins and their hydrological significance
  10. 10. 4/18/2014 Water Resources and Climate of the Region ?  Major river: Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yangtse, Huang He (Yellow River), Tarim, Syr Darya, Amu Darya, Mekong, Salween, and Irrawaddy  The rivers are depending on glacial water and snowmelt from the mountains.  Rising temperature and changes in monsoon might be a major cause for decreasing glacierized area  Temperature is increasing by 0.03°C per year in the region and even faster at higher altitudes  Water Flows consistently decrease on the snow and glacier fed rivers, and less in rain-fed rivers. River basins and their hydrological significance
  11. 11. 4/18/2014 Challenges to Water Availability and Food Production ?  Environmental degradation in the watersheds (mainly due to poorly managed urbanization and industry)  Landslides and Floods (impact on agricultural lands and hydrogeology)  Climate change (increasing drought and flood: already challenged by seasonal water scarcity)  Shifting of agro-ecological zones due to climate change  High price of inputs in agriculture (fertilizers and seed) and access to market (Therefore, Cereal production of Asia will be least by 10-30% lower than projected)
  12. 12. 4/18/2014 Impact on Livelihoods and Economy due to Food Crisis ?  Increasing prices of commodity and food (Less production and high demand, on an average 30- 50% will increase in food price)  Increasing poverty (spending 70-80% of income on food)  Increasing infant and child mortality  Key causes of the current food crisis are combined effects of ; o Speculation in food stocks o Extreme weather events o Low cereal stocks o Growth in biofuels use o High oil prices
  13. 13. 4/18/2014 Why Watershed Vulnerability and Interventions Studies?  Major challenge of the region is too much water in monsoon and much less water in winter  So, challenge is to store excess water of high water availability period and use in extreme drought periods  Therefore, need to introduce watershed interventions technology like; storage pond, infiltration pond, terracing farm land, afforestation etc. (in the perspective of land management and water storage development)
  14. 14. 4/18/2014 Example of the Watershed Vulnerability Study in Nepal  Study Region: Middle-mountain and hill region of Nepal
  15. 15. 4/18/2014 Example of the Watershed Vulnerability Study in Nepal  Different vulnerability indicators in the context of Nepal Assessments Parameters Indicators/Indices Sensitivity Analysis Ecology Landuse and Land Cover Protected Area Coverage Topography (Slope and Aspect) Drainage Density Dominant Climate Human Population Adaptive Capacity Analysis Socioeconomic Human development index Human poverty index Gender development index Human empowerment index Infrastructure PSTN landline phone Electricity consumers Technology Irrigated land Existence of intervention Exposure/Risk Analysis Temperature and Rainfall Mean Seasonal Temperature Trend Mean Seasonal Rainfall Trend Landslide and Flood Death Injured Property Loss Occurrence Positive Annual Rainfall Trend Drought/Food Risk Index Daily Precipitation Food Surplus and Deficiency Population Pressure on Forest Human Ecology Human Poverty Index Accessibility Physical Ecology Surface Soil Erosion
  16. 16. 4/18/2014 Summary  Irrigation water is crucial for a ‘Green Revolution’and without a ‘Blue Revolution’ahead; food crisis will be a major problem in the world in future  Watershed interventionsto preserve excess water of monsoon in surface or sub- surface to fulfill demand of the dry period  Identify alternativeto cereal in animal feed  Promote small scale farming business to adapt impact of the climate change  Promote eco-based farming system to minimize the spread of invasive species, and to maintain bio-diversity and ecosystem services.  Focus on small scale watershed interventions and improved irrigation systems (application of water according to plant demand)
  17. 17.  Nillemann, C.; Kaltenborn, B.P.; 2009. The Environmental Food Crisis in Asia – a ‘blue revolution’ in water efficiency is needed to adapt to Asia’s looming water crisis. Sustainable Mountain Development, ICIMOD, No. 56. 6 – 9.  Siddiqui, S.; Bharati, L.; Panta, M.; Gurung, P.; Rakhal, B.; Maharjan, L.D.; 2012. Nepal: Building Climate Resilience in Watersheds in Mountain Eco-Regions. Technical Assistance Consultant’s Report for Department of Soil Conservation and Watershed Management (DSCWM), Government of Nepal and Asian Development Bank (ADB). International Water Management Institute (IWMI).  Rijsberman, F.R.; 2006. Water scarcity: Fact or fiction? Agricultural Water Management. 80. 5 – 22.  Sugden, F.; Shrestha, L.; Bharati, L.; Gurung, P.; Maharjan, L.; Janmaat, J.; Price, J.; Sherpa, T.; 2013. Field Report on Small Agricultural Water Storage in Nepal. Lessons for up-scaling storage systems in the Koshi basin. International Water Management Institute (IWMI).  Vaidhya, R.A.; 2009. The Role of Water Storage in Adaptation to Climate Change in the HKH Region. Sustainable Mountain Development, ICIMOD, No. 56. 10 – 13. References
  18. 18. 4/18/2014 What is Water Scarcity? (Video Source: FAO )
  19. 19. 4/18/2014 Water Scarcity is ……… Most Important Questions.......... ??? … true or not ? … run out of water or not? … fact or fiction? Is this debate really helpful to increase crop water productivity? ………Green and Blue Revolution ?