From: Reuters
Published September 24, 2007 08:27 AM

Warming shrinks Kashmir's rivers, streams: report

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Water levels in Indian Kashmir's rivers and streams have decreased by two-thirds as a result of global warming which is melting most of the Himalayan region's glaciers, a voluntary group said on Monday.

According to an ActionAid report on the impact climate change is having in Kashmir, many small glaciers in the disputed state have completely disappeared over the last four decades.

"The study shows that the water level in almost all the streams and rivers in Kashmir has decreased by approximately two-thirds during the last 40 years," said the report titled "On the Brink?"



The report said the average temperature in the mountainous parts of the restive state had increased by 1.45 degrees Celsius (2.6 Fahrenheit) over the last two decades, while in the southern plains the temperature rise was 2.32 degrees Celsius (4.2 Fahrenheit).

Scientists warn that receding Himalayan glaciers could jeopardize water supplies for hundreds of millions of people and rising sea levels threaten Indian cities like Mumbai and Kolkata.

Floods and droughts could become more common, diseases more rampant and crop yields lower as temperatures rise, they add.

Kashmir is in the grip of a nearly 18-year-old insurgency that has killed 42,000 people. Human rights groups put the toll at about 60,000.

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