The Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH) are the freshwater towers of South Asia and parts of Southeast Asia. Water originating from their snow, glaciers and rainfall feed the ten largest river systems in Asia. Together these rivers support the drinking water, irrigation, energy, industry and sanitation needs of 1.3 billion people living in the mountains and downstream. This valuable resource is under increasing threat. Along with a rapidly increasing population which is placing greater demands on water resources, climate change is affecting water availability throughout the HKH and beyond. The Hindu Kush Himalayas are warming about three times faster than the global average. Glacier behaviour across the region varies greatly, but most glaciers are retreating.6 Many human activities, most notably agriculture, are timed with the seasonal flows of water and predictable cycles of rain. However, as the region warms, the hydrological (water) cycle becomes more unpredictable, at times with too much or too little water. The effects on people, communities and ecosystems can be devastating with the most visible impacts including catastrophic floods, landslides and droughts. The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by ICIMOD, CICERO or GRID-Arendal.
From collection: The Himalayan Climate and Water Atlas