1. Home
  2. News

Climate Change May Cause Significant Drops in Ganga, Brahmaputra & Indus River Flows: UN Chief

On their long voyage from the Himalayan peaks to the sea, the Ganga, Brahmaputra, and Meghna rivers pass through and nourish five countries. Several countries, particularly India, China, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, have enormous populations that rely heavily on the freshwater supplied by these rivers.

Shivam Dwivedi
UN Chief has emphasized that increasing sea levels & seawater intrusion could destroy huge portions of river deltas
UN Chief has emphasized that increasing sea levels & seawater intrusion could destroy huge portions of river deltas

Yet, this reliance may eventually put these countries in peril. While addressing at the UN 2023 Water Conference, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a harsh warning that climate change-affected melting glaciers and ice sheets could limit the quantity of water that flows into these rivers.

"As glaciers and ice sheets continue to shrink over the coming decades, important Himalayan rivers like the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra will feel the impact, with lower flows," Guterres said. Ten main rivers, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Indus, originate in the Himalayan region and serve the needs of about 1.3 billion people in their catchment.

Previous UN investigations have detailed how Asia's most vulnerable river deltas, the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna, have always remained the Ganga-Brahmaputra-Meghna. The UN Secretary-General has now emphasized this, stating that increasing sea levels and seawater intrusion could destroy huge portions of river deltas.

Glaciers are essential to all forms of life on Earth. They carved out the landmasses we now call home over ages. Currently, they cover 10% of our planet "Guterres mentioned this at the conference. The world's water towers are also glaciers.

Yet, this is also a two-edged sword. Hazardous levels of pollution and heat are causing significant ice loss in key glaciers. Antarctica, for example, loses 150 billion tonnes of ice mass per year. Greenland fared considerably worse, with the ice cap melting at a rate of 270 billion tonnes per year.

This melting is the principal cause of sea-level rise, and it threatens to submerge large parts of numerous Indian cities, including Mumbai. During the conference, Guterres referred to the terrible ice-melt event as the "canary in the coal mine.

The repercussions will be disastrous unless we reverse this trend. Low-lying populations and even countries might be obliterated. We would see massive population shifts and strong competition for water and land. The UN Secretary-General went on to urge governments to work together to protect all communities and limit global warming to 1.5°C.

Take this quiz to know more about radish Take a quiz
Share your comments
FactCheck in Agriculture Project

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters