The Hindu Kush-Himalayan region - Pressures and Impacts (2/2)

Water has been and will remain a contentious issue in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region; it is one of the region's most important natural resources and is critical for the survival. Concerns about water include both quantity and quality of the resource and relate directly to human health standards. An adequate supply of drinking water alone does not fulfil human health needs, as its quality refers to the suitability of the water to sustain living organisms and other uses such as bathing, washing, irrigation, and industrial use. Water pollution is a major and increasing problem in the HKH region with water-borne diseases (notably diarrhoea) accounting for 16.5 % of all deaths (Metcalf and Eddy, 2000) The intense pressure on water resources in the HKH region is due to several factors:

Among the most relevant pressures ASSESS-HKH will focus on organic pollution (industrial and domestic) and disturbances caused by river damming, e. g., for water abstraction. For more information about the aims of ASSESS-HKH with regard to "pressures and impacts" see the description of workpackage 3 and the presentation of current results and products.

River damming (driver) for water extraction lead to change in flow velocity (pressure) thus to modification of the composition of the riverbed substrata and accumulation of nutrients in front of the dam (impact). As a consequence the composition of aquatic macroinvertebrate assemblages will change.
Photo: S. Sharma.
Domestic sewage effluents predominately lead to eutrophication of rivers and, thus, to oxygen depletion. Consequently poisonous by-products occur. Only a few or none fish and aquatic macroinvertebrate taxa will be found in this river.
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