Quantcast
Back to news
5 Aug 2022 | Koshi Basin Initiative

Findings and learnings from the WeACT project in the Upper Koshi Basin

Sharmila Dhungana

3 mins Read

70% Complete

Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) are one of the most serious natural hazards in mountain regions, including the Upper Koshi Basin. GLOFs are becoming frequent due to climate warming and with increasing development of roads, hydropower stations, and settlements, there is also a larger impact of these outburst floods downstream.

With our partners Loughborough University, Tribhuvan University, and Newcastle University, we organised a workshop on 18 May 2022 to disseminate findings from the Web-based Natural Dam-Burst Flood Hazard Assessment and Forecasting System (WeACT) project and demonstrate the web-based tools on potential GLOF modelling and hazard assessment. The WeACT project explored the potential of using the latest remote sensing and dam-break flood modelling technologies to develop an innovative web-based GLOF hazard assessment that could improve community flood preparedness and resilience in Nepal. ICIMOD was the project partner and principal investigator for the fieldwork and joint publications under the project.

The speakers at the workshop highlighted the importance of the tools and methods to understand the changing risks from GLOFs. The workshop also emphasised the importance of the systems, methods, and guidelines to understand GLOF risks for technical professionals and other key stakeholders, especially when designing climate resilient infrastructure.

 

Findings from Tsho Rolpa
Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) base station set up for Ground Control Points (GCP) collection at Tsho Rolpa Lake. Photo credit: Sharad Joshi, ICIMOD

Researchers discussed findings from the WeACT project, which was tested in one of the potentially dangerous glacial lakes (PDGLs) in Nepal – Tsho Rolpa, located at 4550 masl in Rolwaling valley, Nepal. The researchers used multi-scale and multi-model remote sensing techniques to map and monitor the lake and its surroundings.

The study found that the glacier was retreating at a high rate, sometimes up to approx. 1m/day during the monsoon season in 2019. Considering the risks of hazards resulting from the development of glacial lakes as a result of glacier retreat, the researchers also identified different tools to better understand GLOF scenarios. For example, the researchers found that an adapted dam breach approximation model can consider GLOF scenarios to estimate outflow hydrographs. Similarly, the High Performance Integrated Hydrodynamic Modelling System (HiPIMS) can predict the resulting GLOFs at a high resolution to reflect the highly transient flood hydrodynamics. Additionally, open-source data from multiple sources can provide exposure datasets.

 

 

 

 

Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS) base station set up for Ground Control Points (GCP) collection at Tsho Rolpa Lake. Photo credit: Sharad Joshi, ICIMOD

Glacial lakes connected to glaciers in the region are expanding rapidly with increases in glacier melt due to warming. Hence, the study indicates that the lake will require frequent monitoring at 5 to 10-year intervals and suggests that similar studies be conducted in other fast growing glacial lakes in the region.

 

Key learnings

One of the key learnings from the project was the importance of placing community participation at the centre of the activities. The project aimed to integrate local knowledge, and foster joint engagement of different institutions for mapping, assessment, and mitigation/adaptation plan development.  The presenters highlighted the importance of sensitising community regarding GLOF threats to encourage participation and leadership in adaptation activities.

The workshop also had participants from various sectors to help identify and discuss how technologies such as the web-based platforms can be integrated with communities to enhance their resilience against hazards like GLOFs.

The field investigation and its outcomes and interactions with stakeholders emphasised how GLOFs are becoming more frequent due to climate warning. This further reiterates that systematic monitoring of the PDGLs is crucial, along with the importance of setting up early warning systems in flood prone downstream areas while simultaneously enhancing community awareness on the risks of GLOFs.

 

Standardising GLOF hazard and risk assessments 

As the risks of GLOFs has increased in the region, it is imperative that GLOF hazards lakes are identified, assessed, and monitored. The workshop also discussed how to standardise the GLOF risk assessment methodology developed by the National Disaster Risk Reduction & Management Authority (NDRRMA), Nepal and the Koshi River Basin Initiative.  The interdisciplinary methodology assesses the lake hazards and risks posed by potential GLOFs and aims to support practitioners and decision makers in devising ways for better disaster preparedness. The participants provided inputs to the methodology and suggested enhancing social and economic parameters.

Stay current

Stay up to date on what’s happening around the HKH with our most recent publications and find out how you can help by subscribing to our mailing list.

19 Dec 2019 HI-LIFE
Promoting local food systems and food-based value chain in the Far-Eastern Himalayan Landscape

The workshop involved 30 participants (including 10 women) from government bodies, academia, I/NGOs, the private sector, and communities ...

11 Dec 2014 News
Winners of ICT for Mountain Development Award 2014

ICIMOD is pleased to announce the four winners of the ICT for Mountain Development Award 2014. They are Avinash Jha ...

18 Dec 2015 HKPL
Regional consultation on Karakoram-Pamir-Wakhan Landscape Initiative

A regional consultation workshop on programme development for Karakoram-Pamir-Wakhan Landscape Initiative jointly organised by the Wakhan Corridor Initiative and the ...

Third Regional Meeting for Kangchenjunga Landscape Initiative

Participants included high-level government officials from Bhutan led by Dasho Tenzin Dhundup, Secretary at ...

30 Jul 2018 HUC
HUC Academy 2018: Building Mountain Research Capacity

The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, a global asset for food, energy and water resources, is ...

16 Sep 2015 HKPL
Collaboration important for Wakhan National Park

ICIMOD and Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock of Afghanistan (MAIL) jointly organised a one-day meeting 5 August 2015 to explore ...

Cross learning within the HKH: women restore barren land in Passu Valley with sea buckthorn

Process The Passu valley was once bountiful. The Khunjerab and Shimshal rivers gradually eroded their banks, posing a very real threat ...