Vol16 No.5: 1150-1159
【Title】Evaluation of glacial resource potential for sustaining kuhl irrigationsystemunder changing climate in the Himalayan region
【Author】Arshad ASHRAF*; Adeela BATOOL
【Addresses】Climate, Energy and Water Research Institute, National Agricultural Research Center (NARC), Park Road, Chakshahzad, Islamabad, Pakistan
【Corresponding author】Arshad ASHRAF
【Citation】Ashraf A, Batool A (2019) Evaluation of glacial resource potential for sustaining Kuhl irrigation system under changing climate in the Himalayan region. Journal of Mountain Science 16(5).https://doi.org/10.1007/s11629-018-5077-0
【Abstract】A large numbers of mountain communities in the Himalayan region depend on glacier-fed kuhl system – gravity flow irrigation, for their sustenance. The depletion and retreat of glaciers often result in disruption of melt flows to kuhl system, which ultimately impacts the agriculture as well as livelihood of the local communities. Sustainability of glacial resource was assessed for establishing kuhl irrigation system based on indices of glacier decrease by number (GDN) and glacier depletion by volume (GDV) duringthe2001-2013 period. The selected factors are important in terms of understanding point source and reserve potential of glaciers for sustaining glacier-fed kuhl irrigation in this region. The sustainability of glaciers was found good (i.e. a least decrease or rather increase in glacier number and volume) in about 23.6% glaciers (ice reserves about 705.9 km3) under >10 km2 area class of glaciers mainly in Gilgit and Shigar river basins of the Karakoram range. In the 5–10 km2 class of glaciers, sustainability was good in 49 glaciers (ice reserve 26.59 km3) and under 1–5 km2 class, in 558 glaciers (ice reserve 60.189 km3). Overall sustainability of glaciers appears to prevail in the Karakoram basins. The lesser sustainability of glaciers in the Himalaya basins like Astore and Jhelum would apparently be compensated by monsoon and change in rainfall pattern. A regular monitoring of the glacier resource and utilizing advance water conservation techniques would help in coping with negative impacts of down-wasting of glaciers and provide long-term support to kuhl irrigation system in the Himalayan region in future.
【Keywords】Kuhl irrigation; Glacial resource; Karakoram; Himalaya; Hindu Kush