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Freshwater Scarcity and Management in the Mountainous Region

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Pabitra Gurung PhD Student (230111762) gurung@unbc.ca 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 12/5/2014


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12/5/2014 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


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12/5/2014 Global Water Scarcity Regional Water Scarcity (Himalayan Regions) Local Management (Nepal) Outline of the Presentation


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12/5/2014 Projected Global Water Scarcity in 2025 ? Source: International Water Management Institute (IWMI) Physical and Economic water scarcity


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12/5/2014 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 (http://www.unep.org/dewa/vitalwater/article141.html) Projected Global Water Scarcity in 2025 ?


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12/5/2014 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


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12/5/2014 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)


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12/5/2014 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)


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12/5/2014 Water Resources and Climate of the Region ? River basins and their hydrological significance


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12/5/2014 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


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12/5/2014 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)


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12/5/2014 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 ; Speculation in food stocks Extreme weather events Low cereal stocks Growth in biofuels use High oil prices


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12/5/2014 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)


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12/5/2014 Example of the Watershed Vulnerability Study in Nepal Study Region: Middle-mountain and hill region of Nepal


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12/5/2014 Example of the Watershed Vulnerability Study in Nepal Different vulnerability indicators in the context of Nepal


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12/5/2014 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 interventions to preserve excess water of monsoon in surface or sub-surface to fulfill demand of the dry period Identify alternative to 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)


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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


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12/5/2014 What is Water Scarcity? (Video Source: FAO )


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12/5/2014 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 ?


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