Research by Chinese scientists on the Nyainqêntanglha mountains on the Tibetan Plateau even five years ago showed that the frequency of destructive GLOFs were increasing, and they proposed urgent mitigation measures.
‘Potential damage from GLOF disasters is significant,’ wrote Shijin Wang and Lanyue Zhou in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Science, ‘There is an urgent need for (Chinese) government departments to implement engineering measures on all potentially dangerous glacial lakes.’
Nepal is increasingly reliant on selling its surplus electricity to India. Power generation in the monsoon exceeds 2,100MW even as average domestic demand stands at just 1,550 MW. Another 2,500MW of electricity will be added to the grid in the next two years, while 3,000MW of new projects are in the pipeline.
But these projections are at the mercy of future climate-induced risk. Says Upadhyay: “If hydropower is indeed our future, we must treat it with that kind of seriousness and commitment. We must bring in experts who think not only in monetary terms, but holistically at how the climate crisis is changing the Himalayan landscape.”
Read more: Climate risk to hydropower investment, Ajaya Dixit