Gwynne Dyer on climate change geopolitics

2017-07-19

in Bombs and rockets, Economics, Politics, Science, Security

Gwynne Dyer makes some good points about glacier/snowpack, river flow, and geopolitical stability in this video, at 39 minutes 18 seconds:

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. July 25, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Indus Waters Treaty

The Indus Waters Treaty (English) or सिंधु जल – संधि (Hindi) is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank (then the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development). The treaty was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru and President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.

From the rivers flowing in India, India got nearly 33 million acre feet (MAF) from eastern rivers whereas Pakistan got nearly 125 MAF from western rivers. However India can use the western river waters for irrigation up to 701,000 acres with new water storage capacity not exceeding 1.25 MAF and use the rivers for run of river hydro power generation with storage not exceeding 1.6 MAF and nominal flood storage capacity of 0.75 MAF. These water allocations made to the J&K state of India are meagre to meet its irrigation water requirements whereas the treaty permitted enough water to irrigate 80% of the cultivated lands in the Indus river basin of Pakistan. The storage capacity permitted by the treaty for hydro power generation is less than the total annual silt that would accumulate in the reservoirs if the total hydro potential of the state was to be exploited fully. Pakistan is also losing additional benefits by not permitting moderate water storages in upstream J&K state whose water would be ultimately released to the Pakistan for its use and avoid few dams requirement in its territory. Ultimately, J&K state is bound to resort costly de-silting of its reservoirs to keep them operational. Whereas Pakistan is planning to build multi purpose water reservoirs with massive storage for impounding multi year inflows such as 4,500 MW Diamer-Bhasha Dam, 3,600 MW Kalabagh Dam, 600 MW Akhori Dam, Dasu Dam, Bunji Dam, Thakot dam, Patan dam, etc projects with huge population resettlement. In case of any dam break, downstream areas in Pakistan as well as Kutch region in India would face unprecedented water deluge or submergence as these dams are located in high seismically-active zones.

. July 25, 2017 at 4:09 pm

Effects of climate change on the river

The Tibetan Plateau contains the world’s third-largest store of ice. Qin Dahe, the former head of the China Meteorological Administration, said the recent fast pace of melting and warmer temperatures will be good for agriculture and tourism in the short term, but issued a strong warning:

“Temperatures are rising four times faster than elsewhere in China, and the Tibetan glaciers are retreating at a higher speed than in any other part of the world… In the short term, this will cause lakes to expand and bring floods and mudflows.. In the long run, the glaciers are vital lifelines of the Indus River. Once they vanish, water supplies in Pakistan will be in peril.”

“There is insufficient data to say what will happen to the Indus,” says David Grey, the World Bank’s senior water advisor in South Asia. “But we all have very nasty fears that the flows of the Indus could be severely, severely affected by glacier melt as a consequence of climate change,” and reduced by perhaps as much as 50 percent. “Now what does that mean to a population that lives in a desert [where], without the river, there would be no life? I don’t know the answer to that question,” he says. “But we need to be concerned about that. Deeply, deeply concerned.”

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