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Reducing the risk of GLOFs (glacial lake outburst floods) in Nepal

Nepal is starting to reduce the risks of GLOFs by draining water from glacier lakes using siphons and pumps, cutting drainage channels for periodic water release, and building flood control measures downstream. With the support of The Netherlands, the government began a project to drain the Tsho Rolpa glacial lake by three metres,which reduced the risk of a GLOF by 20%. A channel was cut into the moraine, and a gate was constructed to allow water to be released as necessary. The four-year project cost US$3.2 million. Nepal's Tenth Plan aims to improve the country's ability to use existing water resources to provide farmers with year-round irrigation. An advantage of large hydropower reservoirs is that these reservoirs can provide dependable flows for electricity generation, supplement water supplies for domestic and agriculture uses during the dry season and, if properly designed, play a role in flood management. However, these possible benefits must be carefully weighed against the environmental impacts and the enhanced GLOF risks.

http://www.iied.org/NR/agbioliv/gatekeepers/gk abs/documents/ GK118.pdf

Alam, M. and L.A. Murray, 2005: Facing up to climate change in south Asia, Gatekeeper Series 118, IIED, p. 14.

Anticipating long-term climate change

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