Mountains are the water towers of the world. They provide freshwater to half the world’s population for irrigation, industry, domestic use and hydropower. But mountains are also among the regions most sensitive to climate change. Inevitably mountain communities are the first faced with the task of adapting and mitigating to the various challenges such changes present.
World-wide glacier retreat is one of the most obvious and impressive manifestations of climate warming. On a regional scale, glaciers fluctuations may affect landscape, meltwater supply (reservoirs, irrigation), security of infrastructure and buildings (ice avalanches, outbursts of glacial lakes), and tourist industry (ski areas, attractiveness of alpine scenery). To counter this in the swiss alps, a study based on a 20 year weather data shows that the Morteratsch Glacier (Swiss Alps) can reglaciate and advance again using artificially produced summer snow produced just by gravity.
In the Himalayas, the Icestupa Artificial Glacier Technology (Rolex Award for Enterprises 2016 recipient) was pioneered to compensate for reduced runoff by reutilising unused winter meltwater for irrigation.
Such interventions can sustain the mountain regions as water towers of the world and also provide economical stability by strengthening agricultural production and tourism development.