This news article originated in Singapore and was published by Reuters. On Wednesday, researchers warned that a collective effort is necessary to preserve the water flows in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan water system, which is crucially affected by climate-related disturbances. The disruptions above are posing a threat to the economic growth and energy stability of sixteen Asian nations.
The China Water Risk think tank has reported that the basins of the ten major rivers flowing from the Hindu Kush-Himalayan water towers are facing severe threats due to the impact of climate change, including glacial melt and extreme weather. The basins above support a population of 1.9 billion individuals and generate an annual GDP of $4.3 trillion.
According to the researchers, all rivers will face increasing and compounded water risks if emissions are not controlled. They also noted that the ongoing development of electricity infrastructure that requires significant water exacerbates the issue.
The Ganges and the Brahmaputra are hydrological features that traverse India and Bangladesh, with the former discharging into the former and the latter into the latter. The list comprises several rivers, including China’s Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, and international waterways like the Mekong and the Salween.
Hydropower and coal-fired power generation in 16 countries, including Afghanistan, Nepal, and Southeast Asia, are responsible for approximately 75% and 44%, respectively.
According to estimates, the generating capacity of up to 865 GW along the ten rivers is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, primarily due to its reliance on water.
As per the analysis conducted by the specialists, locations exposed to “high” or “extremely high” water hazards possess over 300 GW of potential power, which is adequate to cater to Japan’s energy requirements.
The Yangtze River basin in China, which supports approximately one-third of the country’s population, experienced an unprecedented drought last year. This led to a reduction in hydroelectric power generation and caused disruptions in global supply chains.
In response to the drought, several governments have approved the construction of numerous coal-fired power plants to counteract potential future hydropower deficits. Coal-fired power plants necessitate a specific quantity of water, and the expeditious capacity growth in China and India could potentially exacerbate water-related issues.
The study’s results indicate that nations are facing mounting pressure to develop policies that ensure the alignment of energy and water security as the hazards linked to climate change escalate.
It was asserted that water security should be the primary consideration in determining energy security. This is because decisions about a significant impact on water and a water shortage can render power assets non-functional.