by Debabrat Sukla (HI-AWARE)


It's hard to believe that a region known as the Third Pole of the world, could also be facing a water crisis. However, for the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) region, there exists a type of paradox where close to a billion people and their livelihoods survive in the downstream regions, but the upstream communities face daily challenges when it comes to accessing water. Added to this, there also exists a considerable knowledge gap about the bio-physical and social dynamics of water usage in the HKH. Addressing this knowledge gap, HI-AWARE took part in the flagship IPCC Cities conference that took place in the first week of March, 2018. 

The aim of the conference was to assess the state of academic and practical knowledge that exists on the topic of climate change and cities. Focusing on the pressing issues of the hour, the conference sought to also address any existing gaps in research and forge partnerships to address these gaps. HI-AWARE's role in this regard came in the form of a poster presentation (see below) where it presented its ongoing assessment of urban water governance in the HKH. Of the total HKH population, only 3 percent live in larger cities and 8 percent live in smaller towns. However, there has been an increase in urbanization largely due to regional imbalances in providing economic opportunities. This influx has created interesting cases where people have forged formal, informal and alternative arrangements to procure and use water.


“Water in Himalayan towns” – poster by HI-AWARE