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Spatio-temporal changes in terrestrial water storage in the Himalayan river basins and risks to water security in the region: A review

Shamsudduha, M; Panda, DK; (2019) Spatio-temporal changes in terrestrial water storage in the Himalayan river basins and risks to water security in the region: A review. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2019.101068. Green open access

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Abstract

Nearly one-fifth of the Earth's accessible freshwater is stored in the densely-populated, alluvial floodplains of the Brahmaputra, Ganges, Indus, Irrawaddy and Meghna River Systems in the Himalayan region where extreme hydrological conditions exist due to the seasonal variability in terrestrial water storage (TWS). Groundwater storage (GWS) – a hidden resource underneath the land surface, plays a critical role in sustaining irrigated agriculture in these river basins, particularly during the dry season when rice crops are generally grown in irrigated lands across South Asia. Although monitoring of groundwater levels has been operational in the region for a number of decades, a basin-wide comprehensive assessment of GWS is lacking in most river basins. The NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin satellites offer an opportunity to map basin-wide changes in GWS where in-situ observations are limited in time and space. GRACE-derived assessments of GWS vary substantially in these basins and have not been reconciled with in-situ observations in most cases. Recent declining trends in GWS over the Himalayan river basins are attributed primarily to over-abstraction of groundwater due to dry-season irrigation. Seasonal variability in terrestrial water is likely to increase or become unpredictable in the future as a result of increased climate variability. The consequent impacts may potentially threaten the security of water supply and food in the region, where there is currently a growing demand for food grains from irrigated agriculture, energy, and domestic and industrial water supplies.

Type: Article
Title: Spatio-temporal changes in terrestrial water storage in the Himalayan river basins and risks to water security in the region: A review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijdrr.2019.101068
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijdrr.2019.101068
Language: English
Additional information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Keywords: Himalayan river basins, Terrestrial water storage, Groundwater abstraction, Climate change, South Asia
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Inst for Risk and Disaster Reduction
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10068321
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