Sacred, life-affirming and fast disappearing: waters of the Himalayas – in pictures
Rapid urbanisation, dwindling groundwater reserves and changing rain patterns are driving a water crisis in the lower Himalayas of India and Nepal. Photojournalist Toby Smith took part in a research project charting the shifting demands on this fragile landscape
Photographs by Toby Smith/University of Cambridge
In the small towns and villages of the Himalayas across India and Nepal, communities depend on surface water from glacier-fed rivers, springs, ponds and lakes for domestic use and for agriculture.
Yet this is a region at the forefront of global climate change. Glaciers are shrinking quickly, particularly in the eastern and central Himalayas, which is likely to significantly reduce flows of water downstream. Intensive land uses such as logging and stone quarrying, combined with urbanisation and a rise in tourism, are all putting immense pressure on the region’s water supply.Continue reading...