Adaptation in the Everest Region

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1 Adaptation in the Everest Region Bhawani S. Dongol Program Officer-Freshwater Program WWF- The Global Conservation Organization 26 March 2010

2 Himalayan water towers The Himalayan glacier-fed rivers comprise largest river run-off from any single location in the world and serves 40 per cent of the world s population. Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal The tributaries of Nepal contributes to: ~ more than 45% of total flow; 70% in dry-season and 87% of the Ganges flow in the three critical non-monsoon months (March to May)

3 River Basins in Nepal TIBET 42.42% NEPAL 44.30% INDIA 13.28%

4 Indrawati Koshi River Basin Dudh Koshi

5 Dudh Koshi Sub Basin Gokyo Lake system Gokyo lake system

6 Gokyo Lake System Elevation: more than 4700m

7 Why Gokyo lake conservation? Swertia multicaulis Ruddy Schelduck Neopicrorhiza scrophulariifolia 1. High hydrological value: fed by one of the most active glaciers (Nogzumpa) ; permanent sources of Dudh Koshi River, which is one of the major tributaries of Sapta Koshi river feeding Ganga 2. Biodiversity value: breeding ground for migratory birds; natural habitats for endemic species of plants; small population of several rare and vulnerable plant species 3. Site of international significance: Ramsar; World Heritage Site 4. Cultural significance: holy place of Hindus and Buddhists 5. Source of livelihood : way to Everest base camp; freshwater source for millions of people downstream

8 VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT Methodology: Secondary data collection Primary data collection: Observation, questionnaire survey, focused group discussion GIS and remote sensing Hydrological modeling: - HYCYMODEL: to estimate the melt water generated from the catchment of Nogzumpa glacier - Tank model: to separate the contribution of Nogzumpa glacier, contribution of snow covers and rain fed water - BREACH model: to simulate the breaching of the moraine dam - Dam break model: to measure the breach discharge, which will be routed through the river valley downstream

9 Gokyo Lake system and supra glacier lakes in Nogzumpa Glacier

10 Formation of supra glacier lakes near Gokyo village (almost 20 m deep)

11 Collapse of Lateral moraine due to deepening of Glacier 2 m 20 m 30 m 8 m Supra glacial lake 10 m 3 m Tension Cracks Ngozumpa Glacier 70 m down Gokyo Before 20 years April Moraine wall receding and breeching effect settled 10 m during last 20 years - Slope failure of side moraines top width reduced from 8 m to 3 m - moraine wall cut at the rate of 50 cm per year

12 Perceived climate change impact by local communities 1. Rise in temperature 2. Decline in winter snowfall 3. Recede of general snowline 4. Less amount of snow in Renjo Pass during the last 20 years 5. Increase snow abandoned rocky area 6. Increase in the formation of supra glacier lakes in Nogzumpa glacier 7. Increase in incidence of erosion and sliding of lateral moraine walls of Nogzumpa Glacier 8. Increase in water seepage from Nogzumpa Glacier to Gokyo underneath side moraine ( west) of Nogzumpa glacier 9. Formation of new lakes due to melting of snow in Cho La pass 10. Decline in snow and exposure of rocks in Everest 2 nd base camp

13 Past Events of climate change induced disasters Date Type of Failure River Location Cause of failure Damages 1977 Cholatse GLOF Dudh Koshi Thare village Damaged grass lands 1988 Avalanche Near Dudh Koshi Phortse Thanga Accumulatio n of thick snow mass Damaged toilets 1996 Avalanche Near Dudh Koshi Phangka village Accumulatio n of thick snow mass Dead 13 Japanese and 5 Nepalese 2.Damages one house 2001 GLOF in Naktok Dudh Koshi Tsom Og Washed away of ice cored moraine Damaged Phortse Thanga bridge

14 Community based adaptation strategies 1. Design and promote community based monitoring of supra glacier lakes, receding moraine walls, hydro-meteorological conditions etc. 2. Monitoring of surface and sub surface flow of Gokyo lake (Nogzumpa glacier is the major source of dudh koshi river) 3. Hazard mapping and demarcation of risk prone areas to avoid settlement 4. Resettlement of hotels from Gokyo lake side 5. Raise awareness to tourists, hoteliers, tour guides, tour companies and porters on the impact and dangers 6. Establish/strengthen network for early warning systems 7. Build resilience of the community by providing them necessary training and technologies to cope with changing situation

15 Our Responses..

16 Ecosystem Based Adaptation to build resilience to climate change 1. Gokyo and Associated Lakes declared as one of the first high altitude Ramsar sites in Nepal on 23 September Ramsar Site Management Plan drafted for Gokyo and Associated Lakes and endorsed by the Government of Nepal 3. Formation and institutionalization of Gokyo Lake Management Group (GLMG)

17 Understanding the impacts of climate change on Freshwater ecosystem Study the impact of climate change on indicator species: Study the composition of indicator species (diatoms) for analysis of the impacts of climate change; Monitor the hydrological systems: Monitor changes in the (1) receding moraine walls (2) supra glacier lakes and (3) underground flow in the region to help in early warning for local people and tourists Study the water quality: Study of (1) physico-chemical parameters (e.g., DO, alkalinity, ph, temp., etc.) and health impacts to humans and (2) biological parameters like macroinvertebrates to determine the water quality of the lakes and linkage with climate driven temperature change Study the impact of climate change on glaciers (Nogzumba) and permafrost

18 Community based Monitoring of Supra glacial lakes

19 Waste management technologies demonstrated and field tested Eco-San toilets Incinerator

20 Zonation and Community based monitoring mechanism set

21 Awareness Raising