Key Himalayan rivers could witness the reduced flow due to global warming: UN Chief

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned that key Himalayan rivers such as the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra, which are all vital to India, may witness reduced flows as glaciers and ice sheets recede owing to global warming in the coming decades.


"Glaciers are essential to all forms of life on Earth. Over ages, they carved out the landmasses we now call home. They now cover 10% of our planet. Glaciers also serve as the world's water towers "On March 22, Mr Guterres spoke at an event commemorating the International Year of Glacier Protection.

Mr. Guterres expressed that human activity is raising global temperatures to dangerously high levels, and that "melting glaciers are the canary in the coalmine."

Antarctica loses an average of 150 billion metric tons of ice mass every year, whereas Greenland's ice cover melts at a rate of 270 billion metric tons per year.

Ten main rivers in Asia originate in the Himalaya area, delivering freshwater to 1.3 billion people who live within its basin. "As glaciers and ice sheets continue to recede over the coming decades, major Himalayan rivers such as the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra will feel the impact — seeing their flows reduced," Mr. Guterres said, adding that the world has already seen how Himalayan melts have exacerbated flooding in Pakistan.

He went on to say that increasing sea levels, combined with saltwater intrusion, will devastate significant sections of these massive deltas.

The event took place on the eve of the United Nations 2023 Water Conference, formally known as the 2023 Conference for the Midterm Comprehensive Assessment of Implementation of the United Nations Decade for Action on Water and Sanitation (2018-2028), which is now taking place at U.N. Headquarters.