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Water in Kashmir rivers recede by two thirds: Report

Srinagar, September 24, 2007:

The water level in streams and rivers of Kashmir has decreased approximately by two-thirds during the last 40 years, reveals a report on climate change released here today.

The Actionaid International, an NGO working in over 40 countries, in a 28-page report on climate change and its impact in Kashmir, ‘On the brink’ said there is a clear un unpredictability of the western disturbances passing over Kashmir with unusual distribution of rainfall in space and time, shifting patterns of precipitation and sustained deficit of snowfall.

According to the report, Indian Meteorological Department’s monitoring reveals that temperatures are increasing in both Kashmir valley and Jammu region of the Indian administered Kashmir, with significant increase in maximum temperature of 0.05 degree Celsius per year.

“Temperature on an average in Muslim dominated valley of Kashmir has shown a rise of 1.45 degree Celsius while in Hindu dominated Jammu region, the rise is 2.32 degree Celsius” says the report.

The report also claimed that the increase in temperatures is leading to scanty snowfall in the plains in Kashmir valley and very little snowfall in the mountains. “As a result of this the water level in the streams and rivers in Kashmir is decreasing”.

The Actionaid International report also says that there is a possibility that heat trapping gases, which have reduced snowfall in south Kashmir area of Khrew-Pampore could spill over other areas of Kashmir resulting in less or no snow in the pains in the coming two decades.

The actual time period of Snowfall in Kashmir has undergone a change with December and January receiving scant or no snow, while February witness heavy snowfall.

The report says that quantity of snowfall has reduced over the last few decades. Although occasionally it does have spells of heavy snowfall, the inability of snow to freeze and develop into hard and longer lasting crystals owing to higher temperatures has resulted in faster meltdown.

The report says that there has been an overall 21 per cent reduction in the glacier surface area in the Chinab basin. The main area of glacial extent has also declined from 1 square km to 0.32 sq km during 1962 to 2004.

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