Mak­ing Use of Nat­u­ral Re­sources

Southasia - - Briefing -

Nepal re­cently held a three day Wa­ter Fes­ti­val in its cap­i­tal, Kath­mandu, with the ob­jec­tive of cre­at­ing aware­ness and pro­mot­ing knowl­edge about the sus­tain­abil­ity of wa­ter use and the need for con­ser­va­tion.

Nepal is cur­rently the sec­ond rich­est coun­try, af­ter Brazil, in terms of wa­ter re­sources with its nu­mer­ous river basins and fresh wa­ter flows. How­ever, the ma­jor­ity of the poverty-stricken na­tion’s pop­u­la­tion does not have ac­cess to clean drink­ing wa­ter. 42 per­cent of the Nepalese peo­ple live un­der the poverty line. Re­al­iz­ing that the sit­u­a­tion is wors­en­ing due to cli­mate change, Di­rec­tion Nepal, has in­tro­duced an ini­tia­tive to show­case and fur­ther tech­no­log­i­cal, so­cial or le­gal ini­tia­tives of wa­ter con­ser­va­tion. The pro­gram hopes to con­vince in­spired in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies, com­mu­ni­ties, in­sti­tu­tions and gov­ern­ment agen­cies to ini­ti­ate wa­ter con­ser­va­tion mea­sures at their re­spec­tive lev­els.

Wa­ter is a grow­ing ex­is­ten­tial threat for Nepal, which is one of the few coun­tries in South Asia that is tak­ing mea­sures to pre­vent this calamity. An es­ti­mated 8.6 mil­lion cu­bic me­ters of wa­ter flows ev­ery year from the Hi­malayas to the plains of Nepal. The coun­try’s 3,000 glaciers and 2,000 gla­cial lakes, along with snow melts, are the coun­try’s only source of fresh wa­ter. How­ever, as many as 20 lakes are at the risk of burst­ing and trends in cli­mate change show that the con­tin­u­ous de­crease in snow ac­cu­mu­la­tion and gla­cial re­treat might lead to acute wa­ter short­ages in the fu­ture. Fur­ther­more, most rivers flow­ing through ur­ban Nepal are highly pol­luted, thereby mak­ing them un­fit as re­sources for clean wa­ter.

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