Water


Each day, one of every two people on the planet quenches his thirst with water that originates in mountains.
 And as the world population swells to an estimated 9.6 billion by 2050, the worldwide demand for freshwater will continue to soar.

Mountains provide between 60 and 80 percent of the world’s freshwater, essential for domestic consumption, irrigation, industry, food and energy production. The ten largest rivers originating in the Hindu Kush Himalayas alone supply water to over 1.35 billion people. Some of the world’s largest cities, including New York, Rio de Janeiro, Nairobi, Tokyo and Melbourne, are dependent on freshwater from mountains.

Climate change is already causing more than 600 glaciers to disappear, resulting in springs and rivers drying up. Greater frequency of extreme weather events, droughts and floods, including flash floods and glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), are also expected to increase in mountains, causing imbalance between current water supply and demand.

Given the importance of mountain water resources worldwide, the careful management of mountain water resources is a global priority.  Water management practices need to be adapted to different climatic zones, using locally adapted soil and water management techniques. Most importantly, watershed management must take into account the needs of all those who depend on mountain water, including those who have the greatest stake in preserving healthy mountain ecosystems – people who live in mountain areas themselves, who are often marginalized from the decision-making processes. 

Climate Summit for a Living Himalaya

news

Climate change poses severe threats to Himalayan nations. With 24 of its 2674 glacial lakes considered unstable, the Kingdom of Bhutan alone is preparing for an increase in "mountain tsunamis", as the phenomenon is often referred to. The one occurred in 1994 caused dozens of people dead. Further to the...

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Highlands and Drylands: Mountains, a Source of Resilience in Arid Regions

Highlands and Drylands: Mountains, a Source of Resilience in Arid Regions

publication

Recognizing the crucial role of Dryland Mountains - water towers for surrounding dry lowland areas, global change laboratories for monitoring the combined effects of climate and socio-economic changes - in the global discourse on how to redefine and implement a truly sustainable development, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the...

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Lucerne World Mountain Conference: Closing and Call for Action

news

The Lucerne World Mountain Conference closes with a "Call for Action" to bring a conjunct strong message to Rio+20 in June 2012. Twenty years after the Rio 1992 meeting, over 100 participants joined to meet in Lucerne, Switzerland to make a compelling case for mountains in international development discussions. A...

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Publication Launch - Highlands and drylands: Mountains, a source of resilience in arid regions

news

During the tenth session of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD COP10) - scheduled to convene from 10 to 21 October in Changwon City, Gyeongnam Province, Republic of Korea - an event will be held to launch a new publication entitled "Highlands and Drylands: Mountains, a source of...

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Mountain Research and Development - available online and open access

news

In the newest issue of Mountain Research and Development (MRD) three papers focus on water resources and water management issues in the Indus Basin—one of the largest watersheds in the world, with well over 200 million people in the lower basin depending on the water from headwaters shared by China,...

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"Environment for Europe" Ministerial Conference - Kazakhstan

news

The Seventh “Environment for Europe” Ministerial Conference will take place from 21 to 23 September 2011 in Astana, Kazakhstan, convened by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Committee on Environmental Policy. The two main themes for the Conference are Sustainable management of water and water-related ecosystems; and Greening...

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