Water is an essential element for life on our planet and its flows are connected upstream and downstream and across geographies.
At a glance
Enhanced resilience of the HKH to ensure that our mountains and river systems continue to sustain millions of people living downstream
Arun Bhakta Shrestha
Increasingly skewed and rapid development, along with climate change, has raised challenges in meeting water, food, and energy demands in the HKH region. Protecting our rivers, mountains, and glaciers is crucial to our securing our future.
The HKH is aptly called the water tower of Asia because it is the source of 10 major Asian rivers. It is also known as the Third Pole as it stores the greatest volume of snow cover, glaciers, and permafrost outside the polar regions. It is indispensable to livelihoods, development, and sustenance of approximately 1.9 billion people – approximately a quarter of the world’s population – living downstream.
The River Basins and Cryosphere regional programme aims to understand and protect our mountain systems and the services they provide. We adopt an integrated approach that transcends scale, borders, methods, and disciplines. We help communities manage water resources and disaster risks, prioritize the sustainable use of water and land resources to enhance livelihoods, and understand the role of the cryosphere contributions. We seek to secure the source of water in order to safeguard our future.
Mountain communities are living with the impacts of steady glacier retreat, changing and uncertain snowfall patterns, and increased incidences of cryosphere-related hazards. These changes have direct impacts on the lives and livelihood of mountain communities.
AREAS OF WORK
With accelerated impacts of climate change being felt in the mountain systems of the HKH, the effect of water and climate is also being felt on communities. We are working with communities and governments to deliver and pilot actionable solutions that can provide adaption options to some of these impacts.
Did you know that the HKH stores more snow and ice than anywhere on Earth besides the poles? Water from these glaciated and snow pack regions is used by communities in their everyday water needs. ICIMOD is working to contribute to a better understanding on this dependence.
River Basins and Cryosphere has identified particular river basins of the HKH, along with a focus on the cryosphere, to raise awareness on the dynamic interplay between climate change and its impacts on the rivers and landscapes of the region.
RBC SPECIAL PROJECTS
We’re joining hands with the Australian Water Partnership (AWP), International Water Centre (IWC), and Griffith University to help facilitate best practices in Integrated River Basin Management (IRBM) across different river basins in the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH).
COLLABORATING ACROSS DISCIPLINES
Strengthening Regional Cooperation Across Transboundary River Basins and Landscapes in the Hindu Kush Himalaya
Read about how our approach to the sustainable management of water resources in the HKH region is helping create meaningful impact.
News and features
Water is a vital resource for communities that call the HKH their home. But it also has impacts in the form of hazards and affects communities yearly through disasters like floods. See how ICIMOD is working to address this.
People in the Hindu Kush Himalaya face economic and institutional water scarcity in areas where water is plentiful, but inaccessible. The inaccessibility is caused by a lack of rural electrification or irrigation infrastructure in the plains and because springs are increasingly drying up in the Himalayan mid-hills.
CBFEWS is an integrated system of tools and plans managed by and for communities, providing real-time flood warnings to reduce flood risks.
Events around the HKH
in the news
We collaborate with partner agencies across the HKH to foster regional cooperation, compile and harmonize datasets, share innovative solutions, and direct global attention to the region. Learn more about our work and their impacts.
A street performer around Bath Abbey.
Our programmes are oriented towards integrating knowledge and turning research into action.