As per a recent study shedding light on the long-term effects of climate change and deforestation on Himalayan mountain basins, an increase in agricultural land use and population growth could lead to severe water shortage in Nepal in the coming decades.
Baylor researchers found that climatic changes, an increase in agricultural land use and population growth in the Himalaya Mountain basins could have negative impacts on water availability, further stressing a region plagued by natural disasters and food insecurity.
Using a sophisticated modeling tool called the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), the researchers were able to account for land use, soil types, topography and meteorology to predict future climate change and project snowmelt and stream flow to assess the effects of land use on water availability in Nepal.
Their findings indicate that the region, especially during low flow seasons, may be at severe risk for water shortages.
This study is very important in a country like Nepal since the research is primarily focused for estimating the effects of potential climate variability and land-use changes on water flow processes of specific Himalaya Mountain systems. Water availability has become problematic due to changing climate and land management practices in this region, said lead author Ram P. Neupane of South Dakota State University.
The Nepalese population in this region will face many challenges over the coming decades as soil degrades and water resources continue to place enormous strains on food production and intensify recent trends of subsequent malnutrition, particularly in young children, said researcher Sara E. Alexander.
The study is published in the Journal of Hydrology.