Water flow in Asian rivers may increase

LONDON: Contrary to fears that water supplies in the major Asian rivers would decline in the near future, new research now shows that water flow in these rivers will be stable and may even increase in the coming decades.

The great Asian rivers have their source on the Tibetan Plateau or in the neighbouring mountains.

The Tibetan Plateau is the highest and most extensive area of high land in the world, and what happens there affects water resources for almost a third of the world’s population.

Tinghai Ou from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden who was responsible for the climate projections in the study, explained that increased precipitation and meltwater from glaciers and snowfall are contributing to increased water flows in the region.

The researchers studied future climate change and its effect on the water balance in the region. The study published in the journal Global and Planetary Change modelled the water flows upstream in the Yellow river, the Yangtze, the Mekong, the Salween, the Brahmaputra and the Indus.

The study includes both data from past decades and simulations for future decades.

The results showed that water flow in the rivers in the coming decades would either be stable or would increase compared from 1971-2000.

A report by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 2007 suggested that the glaciers in the Himalayas will be gone by 2035.

This statement was questioned and caused a great stir.

“This mistaken claim and the subsequent debate pointed to a need for a better understanding of the dynamics of climate, glaciers and future water supplies in the region,” Deliang Chen, professor at the University of Gothenburg, pointed out.