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4 Environmental Risk and Security H ydroclimate hazards in the HKH region have gramme, 2011a). Monsoon flooding was affecting the the potential to affect the lives and liveli- plains and coastal areas of Bangladesh and India, cloud- hoods of large numbers of people. Although bursts and landslides were occurring in the mountains climate change may be just one of many elements in a in northern India, floods and landslides were affecting complex system, it could also amplify existing political Nepal, and monsoon flooding hit coastal Pakistan.2 and security stress and push water systems over critical In 2010, hydroclimatic hazards had a different spa- thresholds. In this chapter, we discuss risks and vul- tial distribution in the region, but again with significant nerabilities related to natural hazards and provide an consequences. Twenty million people were impacted overview of water conflicts and political stresses in the by what started as monsoon-related flash flooding in region. Environmental change can contribute to vio- northern Pakistan and ballooned to one of the worst lent conflict, especially where there is a history of such natural disasters in the history of the country as one- conflict and where governance institutions lack capac- fifth of the country's land area was submerged. In the ity or are still in the process of consolidating. It can aftermath of this flooding it is estimated that 90 million also threaten political and social stability by creating people were food insecure, an increase from 83 million obstacles to development, undermining public health, in 2009 (World Food Programme, 2011b). causing population displacement, creating problems Although few of these recent incidents directly for traditional livelihood and allocation systems, and involved snow and ice hydroclimatology, questions affecting mediation tools. were raised about the possible linkages of mountain hydroclimate change to, and long-term implications NATURAL HAZARDS AND VULNERABILITY for, perennial and pervasive hazards in the region. Moreover, food insecurity in some areas is a chronic It is useful to situate the risks associated with snow hazard not associated with disasters as much as struc- and ice hydroclimatology in the HKH region within tural political, social, and economic forces (e.g., Paki- the broader context of natural hazards patterns and stan National Nutrition Survey (AKU and UNICEF, trends in South Asia, which have varied in the region 2012), which indicated no improvement in the per- in both space and time. As of late 2011, some one-third centage of the food-insecure population over the past to one-half of the populations of South Asian countries decade). This section examines these wider patterns were reported to be food insecure1 due in part to flood, of natural hazards, in space and time, to establish the drought, and complex emergencies (World Food Pro- context in which mountain hydroclimate hazards are experienced. 1The World Health Organization defines food security as "when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life." 2 See http://reliefweb.int/. 73
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74 HIMALAYAN GLACIERS: CLIMATE CHANGE, WATER RESOURCES, AND WATER SECURITY Mountain Hazards adjacent to one another. One way of approaching them is to examine the historical geographic record of natural Twenty years ago, concerns arose about the per- disasters in South Asia. The following analysis gives a ceived effects of upper basin deforestation (e.g., in sense of the magnitude of mountain hazards relative Nepal) on catastrophic flood disasters in the Ganges to those of the plains and coasts. It complements other River Basin downstream as far as Bangladesh, which discussions in this report regarding historical and future are analogous to current concerns about Himalayan linkages among the hazards of mountains, plains, and glaciers. A team of mountain scientists began to ques- coasts--and it is supported by information from a vari- tion these perceptions, and compiled a volume titled ety of disaster databases that are discussed in further The Himalayan Dilemma: Reconciling Development and detail in Appendix D. Conservation (Ives and Messerli, 1989). Research in The Himalayan Dilemma marshaled evidence that shed Natural Disasters in South Asia new light on processes of deforestation in the head- waters, refuted popular notions of mountain peoples' Natural disasters in South Asia can involve mete responsibility for lower basin flooding, and refocused orological, hydrological, and geophysical phenomena attention on mesoscale relationships among land use, that are obviously not unique to the HKH region. In land cover, flood hazards, and economic development 2010, hydrological disasters were more common than in the mountains, foothills, and upper piedmont settle- other types of disasters in the region (Munich RE ment regions. The snow and ice hazards of concern in NatCatSERVICE).3 A similar pattern is observed this report differ from the issues of 20 years ago, for over the past century, the frequency of natural disasters example, in their attribution of responsibility to global in the region being flood dominated when compared rather than mountain societies, but the focus on the with other disasters (Figure 4.1), both in terms of the mountains as a source of downstream hazards invites frequency of events and number of people affected by analogies with the types of rethinking that are needed. the occurrence of floods (Figure 4.2). However, the To what extent, and in what ways, do the unfolding number of people killed over the past century by natural mountain snow and ice risks in the HKH region relate disasters was dominated by droughts and related fam- to other natural hazards in the region? Five proposi- ines; the number of people killed by floods in the 20th tions may be considered: century is smaller (Figure 4.3). It should be underscored that these national · Mountain hazards can attenuate with distance disaster data cover entire countries in the South Asian downstream. subcontinent over the past century, and not just the · Mountain hazards can cascade and amplify region affected by mountain hydroclimatology. This downstream (e.g., because of increased downstream macroregional perspective over a century reflects the vulnerability or "associated disasters" triggered by those uncertainties of aggregate data analysis. For exam- upstream). ple, Several catastrophic drought and famine events · Mountain hazards can concatenate with other occurred in South Asia during the first half of the 20th hazards downstream. They can attenuate while also century. Thus, although the frequency of droughts and being amplified by independent disasters downstream famines over the past century in the region is relatively (Butzer, 1982). low (Figure 4.1), Figure 4.2 and 4.3 reflect the major · Mountain hazards can be compounded by inde- impacts of these events in terms of people affected and pendent disasters in different subregions that divert people killed. relief efforts from one disaster to another. · Mountain hazards can be eclipsed by other crises downstream. 3 The NatCatSERVICE database is a comprehensive natural catastrophe loss database. The statement in the text is based on statistics from this database on major global natural catastrophes in These five scenarios defy simple generalizations 2010. See http://www.munichre.com/en/reinsurance/business/non-life/ across the region. They may occur in succession with or georisks/natcatservice/default.aspx.
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ENVIRONMENTAL RISK AND SECURITY 75 FIGURE 4.1 Disasters in the South Asia region have been dominated by floods over the past century (1900 to 2010) in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. SOURCE: Based on data from CRED (2011). Focusing on the most recent 30-year period (i.e., clear. Floods have had increasing significance in the the most recent climate "normals") provides additional numbers of people affected (Figure 4.4) while earth- insight, although the patterns and trends seem less quakes have been associated with the highest number of FIGURE 4.2 Number of people affected per event (bars; y-axis, left) and in aggregate (black triangles; y-axis, right) over the past century (1900 to 2010) in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Floods have affected the most people, while droughts have affected the most people per event. SOURCE: Based on data from CRED (2011).
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76 HIMALAYAN GLACIERS: CLIMATE CHANGE, WATER RESOURCES, AND WATER SECURITY FIGURE 4.3 People killed per event (bars; y-axis, left) and in aggregate (black triangle; y-axis, right) by type of hazard over the past century (1900 to 2010) in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Droughts and related famines have killed the most people in the region both in aggregate and per event. SOURCE: Based on data from CRED (2011). people killed, including the 2005 Kashmir earthquake 30 years due to significant flooding events such as the (Figure 4.5). On a yearly basis, the number of people 2010 flood in Pakistan. Displacement of people in killed and displaced spiked several times over the past multiple countries appeared to start increasing in the FIGURE 4.4 People affected per event (bars, y-axis, left) and in aggregate (black triangles; y-axis, right) by type of hazard over the past 30 years in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. In recent years, floods have been increasingly important in terms of the number of people affected. SOURCE: Based on data from CRED (2011).
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ENVIRONMENTAL RISK AND SECURITY 77 FIGURE 4.5 People killed per event (bars; y-axis, left) and in aggregate (black triangles; y-axis, right) by type of hazard over the past 30 years in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. In recent years, earthquakes have been associated with the highest number of people killed, mostly due to the 2005 Kashmir earthquake. SOURCE: Based on data from CRED (2011). late 1990s, but then dropped. Even economic damages sures to settle in hazardous floodplain and hill-slope seem more variable in the region than the aggregate areas); global trend (Dartmouth Flood Observatory, 2011). · increasing flood hazards may be associated with Examining flood hazards over the past 25 years as land degradation in some settlements and watersheds; they occur in the Dartmouth Flood Observatory Data- and base (Appendix D) provides additional insight. Several · the region is experiencing an increased reporting patterns stand out: first, the frequency of reported events of disaster events.4 is increasing; second, a significant number of these events are two-country and presumably transboundary Mountain Environmental Hazards: events, which is relevant for this study; but third, deaths An Examination of Nepal and damages do not exhibit clear trends in individual countries. These observations raise questions about the To gain a more specific sense of mountain environ- extent to which increased frequency and impacts are mental hazards it is useful to examine Nepal. Nepal has a function of improved disaster reporting, changes in the highest proportion of mountainous terrain among human exposure, and/or changes in vulnerability. Thus, countries in the region, and thus the most pervasive while the above analysis brings forth information about exposure to and experience with mountain hazards. It the occurrence of natural hydroclimate hazards in the is also the one country in the region that has a detailed region, interpreting these data needs to be framed with national disaster database examining hazards by types additional points, including and subregions, maintained by the Global Assess- · the number of people in risk zones has increased with population growth; 4 The last of these issues is partially addressed by data on losses · the number of people affected by floods may be per event. The other uncertainties are well recognized, though due to an increasing number of vulnerable people and increased awareness has not yet led to more explanatory database increasing vulnerability of those people (e.g., by pres- development.
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78 HIMALAYAN GLACIERS: CLIMATE CHANGE, WATER RESOURCES, AND WATER SECURITY ment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction (GAR)5 and A subregional breakdown of disaster frequency and described further in Appendix D. In this database, as analysis of losses of life and damages by disaster type in global ones, the frequency of disasters reported has in Nepal indicates that increased from the 1990s onward, and so, looking at the impacts per disaster variable is important.6 · damages are highest in the more populated cen- Although the number of people killed by natural tral and eastern regions (Figure 4.7); hazards in Nepal over the past 40 years has increased, · losses of life are cumulatively highest from floods the number of people killed per disaster has decreased and landslides, although individual earthquakes have somewhat. This could be due, in part, to improvements caused some of the highest mortality rates; in medical care and disaster response. The number of · droughts have limited recorded impact as com- people affected (in aggregate and per disaster) increased pared with other countries in South Asia; and in the same time period, albeit with differently timed · fires and floods have caused some of the greatest peaks and trends in response to specific events.7 How- economic losses. ever, estimated economic damages increased from the 1990s onward in an obvious trend (Figure 4.6) reflect- When contemplating these points, several impor- ing the same global trend. tant questions occur: How do the different countries of South Asia address these types of mountain hazards? Do low-frequency high-mortality disasters such as 5 Available at: http://www.preventionweb.net/english/hyogo/ earthquakes have greater impact on disaster policy in gar/2011/en/what/ddp.html and http://www.desinventar.net/ the region than higher-frequency lower-magnitude DesInventar/profiletab.jsp?countrycode=np. flood hazards? How do societies address multiple 6 It is worth noting that the GAR database does not separate gla- hazards and transboundary hazards, including those cial lake outburst floods (GLOFs) from the aggregate flood data. 7 Analysis is based on data from the GAR database from 1971 in lowlands that may compound or eclipse mountain to 2009. hazards? To consider these types of questions, the next FIGURE 4.6 Estimated damages per event (bars; y-axis, left) and in aggregate (black triangles; y-axis, right) from natural hazards in Nepal in local currency by year (1971 to 2009). Estimated economic damages increased from the 1990s onward. SOURCE: Based on data from DesInventar Disaster Information System, http://www.desinventar.net/DesInventar/profiletab.jsp?countrycode=np.
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ENVIRONMENTAL RISK AND SECURITY 79 FIGURE 4.7 Number of people affected, number of people killed, and estimated damages (in local millions of dollars) for the five regions of Nepal, in aggregate for events occurring between 1971 and 2009. Number of people affected, number of people killed, and estimated damages are all highest in the more populated central and eastern regions. SOURCE: Based on data from DesInventar Disaster Information System. section shifts from historical disaster data to current As a whole, regional organizations8 give particular disaster risk reduction programs at the international emphasis to international cooperation, information and national levels. sharing, and capacity building. One important aspect of these regional programs is their increasing emphasis Natural Disaster Mitigation, Management, on linking climate change with disaster risk reduc- and Response tion. Another important observation is that increasing emphasis on community-based approaches and on It is important to consider the efforts that focus capacity building by these organizations is creating an on natural hazards and disaster risk reduction in international professional cadre of regional disaster risk South Asia, as they offer different perspectives on reduction expertise. and approaches to natural hazards across the region. In addition to the military role in disaster relief This can also be useful when considering the specific in each country, national disaster management agen- impacts of glacial and snowmelt processes in the cies are key sources of planning, coordination, and region. A variety of national, regional, and interna- information on hazards management.9 Most have had tional intergovernmental organizations and programs limited resources and capacity until recently, but that and national disaster agencies exist that are relevant to 8 Regional organizations discussed further in Appendix D include this discussion. Each has differing missions, empha- Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre (Bangkok); Asian Disaster Re- sis, and resources and thus different strengths and duction and Response Network (Kuala Lumpur); Duryog Nivaran weaknesses in this context. Furthermore, geopolitical (Colombo); ICIMOD: Integrated Water and Hazard Management issues and governance structure have variable bearing Programmes (Kathmandu); SAARC--Disaster Knowledge Net- work (New Delhi); and the U.N. ESCAP (Bangkok) Committee on disaster management and response in the region. on Disaster Risk Reduction. (For a more detailed discussion of these programs, see 9 National agencies discussed further in Appendix D include Appendix D.) Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Pakistan.
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80 HIMALAYAN GLACIERS: CLIMATE CHANGE, WATER RESOURCES, AND WATER SECURITY has tended to change in the wake of high-magnitude and local communities. This is particularly the case events.10 This is particularly the case in India, which is in remote and rural areas, whereas in urban disasters, scaling up its public disaster management institutions reconstruction has historically been financed in part by and research centers (cf. Kapur, 2009, 2010). national and external sources of capital as well (Vale The governance structures of nation-states have and Campanella, 2005). The 2005 Kashmir earthquake an important bearing on disaster management and marked an important benchmark for mobilization at response. In more centralized systems such as Bhutan, multiple scales for mountain disaster relief (e.g., Hal- the national agency has primary jurisdiction, author- vorson and Hamilton, 2010). ity, and capacity. In parliamentary federal systems of Nongovernmental organizations have supported government such as India and Pakistan, by comparison, and helped shape an array of local, community-based states may have primary or concurrent jurisdiction, with approaches to disaster risk reduction in South Asia support from national agencies to address disasters that (see Appendix D for further discussion). Appraising are beyond their capacity. the traditional coping and adaptive capacity of local Federal systems and their states can undergo pro- organizations and communities, and the evolving cesses of devolution or centralization over time that efficacy of social media, cell phone, and humanitarian in turn can affect disaster response. In Pakistan, for logistics technologies in modernizing regions are vital example, devolution to local governments a decade ago tasks (e.g., Gupta et al., 2010; IUCN, 2008). These has been replaced by devolution to provincial govern- technologies can provide people with very quick and ments under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution accurate information about highly local conditions, of 1973 (an amendment passed in 2010). Under that facilitate mobilization and collaboration at different amendment, many national agencies have been dis- scales, and immediately connect affected people and solved, and their authority devolved to provincial gov- their needs to friends and families. They can, however, ernments. For example, the Ministry of Environment, also permit misinformation to circulate quickly and which might have advanced a national climate change widely. Moreover, inexpensive and widespread access policy, was devolved in 2011. The National Disaster can result in systems being overwhelmed unless there Management Authority continues to operate at the is concomitant development of multiscale redundant federal level with an approach for devolving responsi- social and information infrastructure for hazards miti- bilities to the provinces. Within this changing context, gation, warning, emergency management, and vulner- in March 2012 the federal cabinet division of Pakistan ability reduction. approved a national climate change policy, a new Min- istry of Climate Change, and participation in the flood Implications for Snow and Ice Hydroclimatic information program of the international Indus hydrol- Hazards in South Asia ogy program convened by ICIMOD (KHK-HYCOS; Ghumman, 2012). It seems reasonable to consider in As in The Himalayan Dilemma (Ives and Messerli, each country how policies for disaster risk reduction in 1989), the greatest vulnerability to mountain snow and the context of hydroclimatic and institutional change ice hydrology hazards is for mountain people and their may be implemented. However, it is also reasonable to immediate downstream neighbors. Disasters are most state that the general situation is one of uncertainty at severe at their source--that is, mountain and hill-slope the national level. (e.g., terai) communities are most at risk from blizzards, Although international, national, and state orga- snow avalanche, glacial retreat, GLOFs, and related nizations are important, most disaster victims are res- geophysical extremes. At the same time, upland com- cued and assisted by their family members, neighbors, munities are presumably adapted to historical ranges of hydroclimate variability, and the more remote commu- 10Resource allocation trends can be assessed through national nities have historically received limited assistance from budgets and plans at annual and interannual timescales. Although the state (Macchi, 2011). For example, Kreutzmann economic analysis of this sort was not conducted for this report, expansion of government programs was evident on disaster agency (2000) documents impressive examples of cooperative websites over the course of the study. water management across the Hindu Kush, Karakoram,
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ENVIRONMENTAL RISK AND SECURITY 81 and Himalayan ranges. They underscore the changes flood impacts on poor mountain floodplain occupants. in mountain human-environment relations brought As noted above, local events may attenuate, cascade, about by transportation, tourism, and socioeconomic or concatenate over time; they may be compounded or development that reduce some risks while amplifying eclipsed by larger-scale regional socioeconomic pro- others (cf. also Derbyshire and Fort, 2006). cesses. For example, the short-term impacts of flooding Physical impacts of mountain floods tend to in one growing season can be offset by the following attenuate with distance from the source, but local losses crop (see Government of Pakistan  for Pakistan can increase as they encounter concentrations of down- and Yu et al.  for Bangladesh). Long-term mac- stream people and property at risk (e.g., in the district roeconomic disaster impacts are in part a function of and provincial centers in mountain and foothill regions). country size: small countries such as Nepal and Bhu- Headwater flood events can also concatenate and com- tan may have proportionately larger and longer-term pound with other hydroclimate hazards, for example, socioeconomic impacts than larger countries such as with monsoon rainfall on the plains as occurred in the India (Noy, 2009). massive 2010 Indus Basin floods in Pakistan, or with Modernization and globalization may reduce coastal cyclones in Bangladesh and eastern India. The losses of life and long-term macroeconomic impacts of spatial extent and magnitude of these lowland disasters disasters, particularly when they include strong hazard can eclipse more localized hazards in mountain areas. mitigation policies (World Bank, 2010b). However, Another open question is how large drought losses on they can also increase the numbers of people affected the plains may be affected by future temporal variability and the economic damages they face. Macroeconomic and regional trends in snow and ice hydrology. disasters that stem from other causes can also increase Management of these types of situations can be vulnerability to hazards in and from the Himalayan confounded by several groups of factors. First, there are region, especially for the poor and marginalized, sometimes perverse incentives that constrain efforts to upstream and down. attenuate or eliminate the adverse consequences of the Multimethod and all-hazards research over multi- physical impacts of mountain floods. Upstream flood ple spatial and temporal scales will thus be increasingly control or flood management actions produce down- important for analyzing these widening issues (e.g., stream benefits that are public goods in the sense that Gearheard et al., 2011). New methods that are rapidly those downstream benefits cannot be withheld from transforming the timeliness and efficacy of warning, those who refuse to pay for them. This means that there evacuation, and relief include hydrometeorological is reluctance to invest in upstream flood control works services for flood warning (Hallegate, 2012; ICIMOD, and schemes because the full returns from them cannot 2012a); mass messaging (Coyle and Childs, 2005); be captured (Ostrom, 1990). Such disincentives need to near-real-time disaster GIS mapping and remore be surmounted by some form of collective action which sensing;11 real-time evaluation and adjustment (Active may not always be easily negotiated or constituted Learning Network for Accountability and Performance precisely because they would eliminate the benefits to in Humanitarian Action);12 civil-military coordination so-called free riders. The problems of securing collec- and the expanding humanitarian logistics cluster.13 tive action may be particularly vexing in international and other transboundary situations. Perspectives on Vulnerability and A second confounding element stems from human Risk of Natural Disasters vulnerability that is in many ways a function of exposure and sensitivity, which in turn are linked to structural The preceding sections have discussed the physical inequalities and inequitable power relations among and human dimensions of hydroclimate hazards in the ethnic, gender, and class groups in a society (Wisner wider Himalayan region. et al., 2003). These relationships vary over temporal and across spatial scales. Short-term disaster effects are 11 See http://reliefweb.int/updates/thumb. most acute and longest lasting in local areas of rapid- 12 See http://www.alnap.org/about.aspx. onset disasters and deep social vulnerability, as in flash 13 See http://www.logcluster.org/.
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82 HIMALAYAN GLACIERS: CLIMATE CHANGE, WATER RESOURCES, AND WATER SECURITY These processes cannot be forecast on interannual models, and knowledge are aggregated--and when or decadal timescales with any level of confidence at analogous uncertainties of social processes and damage present, but they pose credible risks that can be ana- datasets are included--they raise profound questions lyzed with basic methods of scenario and sensitivity about the prospects for long-term scenario-driven analysis (Wescoat and Leichenko, 1992; Yu et al., simulation, let alone forecasting, of future hazards. 2010). Returning to the natural hazards propositions This is not to dismiss scenario analysis, but rather outlined above, it is important to anticipate and explore to say that it must be complemented by other types alternative perspectives on compound physical and of risk assessment and risk reduction. In the field of social processes that can amplify individual hazards. scenario analysis, the Intergovernmental Panel on These could include combinations of high-snowfall Climate Change (IPCC) has recently summarized the years with high temperatures, rapid runoff, and major state of scientific evidence, agreement, and perceived monsoon storms in the foothills--as occurred in the likelihood of extreme events and losses associated with Indus Basin floods of 2010 in Pakistan (Asian Devel- climate change at the global and regional scales (IPCC, opment Bank and World Bank, 2010; OCHA, 2010). 2012; Climate and Development Knowledge Network, A glacial lake could breach and cascade downstream, 2012). Selected trends and projections relevant for this triggering river channel change, levee failure, and report include inundation, for example, on the Kosi River alluvial fan or Indus River main stem (Hewitt, 1983). High flows · Climate extremes and impacts: (a) medium confi- in the Ganges/Brahmaputra Basin could coincide with dence in a warming trend in daily temperature extremes large-scale processes of sedimentation, erosion, and over much of Asia; (b) low to medium confidence coastal storm surge. that droughts will intensify; (c) limited to moderate These complex geophysical events may become evidence regarding "changes in the magnitude and more common than isolated single-variable extremes, frequency of floods at regional scales," low agreement, and require greater research and planning attention. and low confidence regarding these changes. Moreover, they always coincide with social processes · Disaster losses: (a) high confidence about increas- that create, amplify, and/or mitigate environmental ing economic losses; (b) high confidence that losses as security risks (Wisner et al., 2003). a proportion of GDP are greater in small and middle- As illuminated throughout this report, to antici- income countries; (c) high confidence that increased pate future hydroclimatic hazards and disasters in the exposure of population and settlements has been the Himalayan region, three major challenges need to be major cause for increasing losses; and medium con- addressed: (1) high levels of different types of uncer- fidence that future economic losses related to climate tainties about the measurement, modeling, forecasting, extremes will be socioeconomic in nature. explanation, and capacity for reducing and responding · Disaster management and adaptation to past to future hazards; (2) high levels of spatiotemporal events: (a) high confidence about the major role of variability in hazard losses at multiple scales; and (3) exposure and vulnerability; (b) high confidence about alternative frameworks for understanding social vul- the aggravating impact of flawed development practices nerability and resilience. This section briefly describes and policies; (c) high agreement about the inadequacy these challenges, reviews a progression of models for of local disaster data for vulnerability reduction; (d) addressing them, and analyzes several lines of evidence high agreement about the aggravating effects of socio- as first steps along what needs to become a long path economic inequalities on adaptation; (e) high agree- of scientific inquiry, policy development, and effective ment about the need for humanitarian relief in small hazards mitigation for the peoples and places that face and less-developed countries; (f ) high agreement these risks. about the importance of postdisaster opportunities for Himalayan hydroclimatology encompasses all of increasing adaptive capacity through long-term plan- the forms of uncertainty described in the NRC report ning and reconstructions; and (g) medium confidence on Risk Analysis in Flood Damage Reduction Studies about the role of risk-sharing mechanisms at multiple (NRC, 2003b). When these uncertainties of data, scales; and (h) high agreement about the need for inte-
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ENVIRONMENTAL RISK AND SECURITY 83 grated disaster risk management, climate adaptation, which can be useful for water managers today. One and development. issue with such an approach is whether contemporary · Future climate extremes, impacts, and disaster losses: social structures, populations, and capacities have useful (a) very likely that heat waves will increase in most working historical analogues. regions; (b) likely that heavy precipitation events will Impacts from the Attabad landslide-impounded increase; (c) likely that tropical cyclone wind speeds lake in the Hunza Valley of northern Pakistan in 2010 will increase but that cyclone frequencies may decrease were vastly compounded by monsoon rains in northern or remain unchanged; (d) low confidence in future plains later that year, which cascaded in river flooding drought projections; (e) low confidence in future flood downstream to the delta. The latter event eclipsed projections at a regional scale; (f ) high confidence the former and disrupted relief supply chains as well that current coastal hazards would be aggravated by as funding for resettlement and reconstruction. The future sea level rise; (g) low confidence in projections 2011 monsoon, by comparison, was normal in the of changes in monsoons. northern plains but caused severe rainfall damages in · Human impacts and disaster losses: (a) high confi- the lower delta. Analysis of the similarities, differences, dence that climate change could seriously affect water comparability, and linkages among these damage and systems; (b) medium confidence that socioeconomic recovery processes--as well as their implications for factors will be the main drivers of future losses; (c) future disaster risk reduction policies and programs medium agreement that future climate extremes would at different scales--is still under way. Independent of affect population mobility and relocation (IPCC, these events, however, disaster management is being 2012). devolved along with many other federal ministries to the provincial level of government, which will make These conclusions indicate the currently limited analogies, vis-à-vis strict comparability, between past ability to project future hazard losses, or resilience in and future hazards all the more important. quantitative terms, especially at local to regional scales Two major advances in disaster research in recent or on timescales on the order of decades, and at the years have focused on vulnerability and resilience same time, increasing scientific agreement about the (Adger, 2006; Cutter, 2006; Cutter et al., 2010). "Vul- types of hazards likely to be faced in different contexts nerability" can be as much a characterization of poten- in qualitative terms. This combination of findings tial future losses, as it is an assessment of documented underscores the importance of examining a broad range historical losses. When used as a planning or policy of historical evidence, current plans, and plausible concept, "resilience" can also be projective, imagining analogies for anticipating possible futures. alternative pathways for relief, recovery, reconstruction, One approach focuses on "critical water problems" and mitigation. as currently defined and asks how past variability, cli- Insight into these possible futures can be gleaned mate change scenarios, and plausible future hazards in part from critical research on historical and contem- such as the probable maximum flood affect the range porary hazards. For example, Kapur (2009, 2010) has of future choices for redefining and addressing those prepared major reviews of disaster research and policy critical water problems (Brown, 2012; Wescoat, 1991). in India that document the rich cultural heritage of Comparing losses in one place, time, and context with ideals and practices for adjusting to hazards, while the current situation in another context, and with lamenting the belated development of modern hazards a range of possible futures in other places can ben- research and policies in the late 20th century. Those efit from the analysis of hydroclimate "analogues and studies indicated the highest levels of vulnerability in analogies" (Glantz, 1998; Meyer, 1998). For example, the extreme northeast and northwest districts of India Hewitt (1983) examines the historical record of flood (e.g., Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh, due primarily disasters on the Indus, including a 19th century GLOF to inadequate infrastructure and access to services), event that cascaded into the middle reaches of the river, followed by subareas of northern Bengal, Bihar, and within a human ecological framework for assessing the Uttar Pradesh (due more to disadvantaged groups and changing character of disaster losses and management, fragile living conditions). Recent Indus Basin hazards
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84 HIMALAYAN GLACIERS: CLIMATE CHANGE, WATER RESOURCES, AND WATER SECURITY research has likewise shed light on conditions of social because at almost any given time, building resilience vulnerability related to unequal and marginalizing may seem like the more expensive, and hence less power relations that have been driving forces of past, politically attractive, choice. present, and likely future losses (e.g., Halvorson, 2003; In assessing the hydroclimate risks of the Hima- Mustafa and Wrathall, 2011). layan region, it seems vital to understand regional Resilience research focuses on the complementary traditions, adaptation, and innovations for addressing processes of coping, recovery, and reconstruction. In the root causes of climate, water, and food insecurity physical terms, the concept of resilience draws upon (Moench and Gyawali, 2008; Ul Haq, 2007), as well ecosystem and systems analysis by analyzing the time as the frontiers of international scientific and technical required for human-environmental systems to rebound risk management. An area that is understudied and to their predisaster status; in recent years, however, the perhaps of critical value is understanding local adapta- definition of resilience has been expanded to include tion and innovation, and hence what local mechanisms the possibility of learning, reorganizing, and rede- could be supported and scaled up, and additionally, veloping into an improved state in the longer term. which actions at different scales may actually be coun- However, much more is intended in the hazards field terproductive when viewed from a broader perspective where resilience also connotes preparedness, capacity and should therefore be replaced. building, and ways for "building back better" in the future. For application across South Asia, Moench and SECURITY DYNAMICS AND Dixit (2004) provide an array of examples in an edited WATER CONFLICT volume on Adaptive Capacity and Livelihood Resilience: Adaptive Strategies for Responding to Floods and Droughts Although water conflict per se has historically been in South Asia. Other studies of community-based plan- kept within bounds, the region is characterized by a ning methods for multihazard resilience in the HKH high level of risk for political security problems, com- mountains can serve as blueprints for future planning, pared with other parts of the world. It has a mixture of as well as assessments of past losses (e.g., ICIMOD, political regimes ranging from strongly and consistently 2012b; Interworks LLC, 2010). democratic (India) to strongly and consistently auto- In light of these critical perspectives on patterns of cratic (China), with many regimes (Afghanistan, Ban- vulnerability, challenges of resilience, and the limita- gladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan) exhibiting high tions of historically technocratic approaches to hazard levels of instability in their domestic political systems mitigation in South Asia, it is also worth mentioning and failing to consolidate as either strongly democratic here the perspective of sociologist Ulrich Beck on "risk or autocratic. Regime type may be a significant variable societies." Beck (1992, 2009) argues that developed conditioning war proneness, with evidence suggesting countries in the West have placed ever-increasing that emerging or unconsolidated democracies (e.g., emphasis on risk, but not on its root causes (e.g., pov- Afghanistan and Nepal) may be particularly vulnerable erty, social inequality, governance failures, and domi- to initiating conflict (Gartzke, 2007; Krain and Myers, nation and marginalization of some groups by others). 1997; Mansfield and Snyder, 2005). These "risk societies" are destined to be evermore The region also has several ongoing international anxious about and adept at managing symptomatic, security problems. China, India, and Pakistan have sometimes catastrophic, losses, but not in ways that nuclear weapons, with India and Pakistan doing so pri- dramatically reduce the driving causes and experience marily as part of an international rivalry involving each of vulnerability. Under conditions of uncertainty, gov- other. The China-India border is under dispute, with ernments may prefer a combination of decentralizing territory in Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh claimed risk toward the individual and the private sector and by both countries; a war was fought in 1962 over this then paying for rescues and bailouts when required, as territory. India and Pakistan also contest their border, opposed to a society-wide strategy of building resilient with conflicting claims to Kashmir; they have engaged capacity and safety nets. The economics and the politi- in military conflicts over this border in 1947 and 1948 cal economy of these options require further attention, at partition, and in 1965 and 1999. The two countries
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ENVIRONMENTAL RISK AND SECURITY 85 maintain a military presence on the Siachen Glacier the watersheds of the HKH region are international and have engaged in armed combat there. Afghani- in nature. stan and Nepal are both emerging from war and in a At the international scale, water disputes are often fragile peace-building phase in which the probability addressed at the political and diplomatic level, and of conflict recurrence is significant. Collier et al. (2003) water can be an effective source of international coop- provide extensive statistical data showing that past con- eration and negotiation through bilateral or multilateral flict is a good predictor of future conflict. Past conflict treaty agreements or standards of international law. combined with growing environmental stress may be a Hundreds of water treaties have been negotiated and particularly volatile combination ( Collier, 2007). implemented around the world (Oregon State Univer- As the 21st century unfolds, concerns over the real sity, 2012b). Wolf (2007) argues that these are often and imagined risks of conflict over environmental prob- highly effective at reducing the risks of water conflicts, lems and access to resources have risen on the global although few of these agreements have incorporated list of security challenges (e.g., Deudney and Matthew, new concerns that might be caused by climate changes 1999; Homer-Dixon, 1999).14 These concerns now or other pressures. Moreover, the overwhelming major- include the area of water resources, requiring experts ity of agreements were crafted at a time when the and policy makers to consider and evaluate the connec- world population was much smaller and there were far tions between water resources and conflict--and to do fewer states and other political actors. Most bargaining so against the backdrop of existing political and security theory suggests that strong and effective agreements are risks and vulnerabilities. Water supply and treatment more difficult to reach as the number of actors increases in modern and developing countries is dependent on (e.g., Oye, 1986). complex water infrastructure. Yet access to reliable There have been a range of promising multitrack water is vulnerable to disruptions from intentional initiatives that focus on transboundary water issues in human actions or from changes in natural conditions, South Asia (cf. the various perspectives of Aman Ki including climate changes. In the HKH region, water Asha, 2012; Bandyopadhyay and Ghosh, 2009; Crow resources are already a scarce and valuable resource in and Singh, 2008; Gyawali, 2011; Iyer, 2003, 2007; Jin- many communities. Because water is such a fundamen- nah Institute, 2012; Moench and Dixit, 2004; Verghese, tal resource for human and economic welfare, threats 2007). These have broadened in scope and significance to water availability and water management systems or over time, with the leadership of influential water experts conflicts over access to water need to be viewed with from the region. Their effect on relationships and nego- concern, and care taken to both understand and reduce tiations is difficult to discern, but has potential in light those risks (cf. the various perspectives of Falkenmark, of the substantial water policy experience, public intel- 1990; GCISC, 2007; Gleick, 1993, 2000, 2006; Lal et lectual, and civil society roles of leading participants. al., 2011; Michel and Pandya, 2009; Moench, 2010; Cooley et al. (2012) argue that even in areas with a Monirul Qader Mirza and Ahmad, 2005; Postel, 2000; precedent of cooperation, population growth, economic Postel and Wolf, 2001; Ringler et al., 2010; Swain, factors, and climate change could increase tensions over 2004; Uprety and Salman, 2011; Yu et al., 2010). Such water. As they note: conflicts can occur at international, subnational, and For countries whose watersheds and river basins lie local levels. wholly within their own political boundaries, adapting Political boundaries rarely coincide with watershed to increasingly severe climate changes will be difficult boundaries, often bringing politics into water policy. enough. When those water resources cross borders, Indeed, approximately half of the land area of the bringing in multiple political entities and actors, sus- planet is in an "international river basin"--shared by tainable management of shared water resources in a changing climate will be especially difficult (Cooley two or more nations (Wolf, 2007), and almost all of et al., 2012). 14 These There are clear needs for regionally coordinated authors were pioneers in raising the issue of possible links between conflict and the environment, but the issue remains planning for water sharing, management, and storage one of active debate in the literature. in the HKH region. Yet the political, economic, and
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86 HIMALAYAN GLACIERS: CLIMATE CHANGE, WATER RESOURCES, AND WATER SECURITY social conditions in various countries and places have power investment agreements in the region address historically impeded such integrated planning and hydroclimate variability (see discussions in World management. Upstream countries such as China and Bank  and USAID , which examine India have implemented and proposed dam projects, power trade potential and constraints among Bhutan, for instance, that affect the timing and amount of India, Nepal [the so-called "eastern" market] and also flow to downstream countries such as Pakistan and Afghanistan and Pakistan [the "western" market]). Bangladesh. Even the sharing of data on water faces Bangladesh and India established a treaty on sharing political constraints; the Indus Waters Treaty provides Ganges water in 1996, which superseded less formal for data exchange (Article VI), though some data agreements. They recently set aside a proposed treaty remain classified by countries or otherwise not avail- to share the waters of the Teesta River but that was able for regional analysis or use. With a few partial reportedly due to federal-state politics in India (India exceptions, such as the Indus River Treaty signed over Water Review, 2011). Another difficulty with many of half a century ago,15 countries in the region have not the treaties in the region is that they do not include had a history of working together on shared problems. all riparians.17 For example, the Indus Treaty does not And, even that treaty is the subject of considerable include Afghanistan (the Kabul River is a tributary of tension between India and Pakistan these days. Recent the Indus). The Ganges Treaty with Bangladesh does failed discussions, such as over the Wullar Barrage not include Nepal. (see Bhutta, 2011), suggest that tensions are far from Other important factors related to climate risks are being managed completely effectively. Climate change left out of almost all international water agreements as adds another complex layer of stress to this and other well. Groundwater is typically ignored or excluded, and treaties. As noted above, however, the Indus Waters for India and Pakistan, finding a way to manage trans- Treaty has provisions for exchange of data (Article boundary groundwater may be a critical issue. Many VI) and future cooperation (Article VII) that have agreements that address water allocations do so using considerable potential. Although Nepal alone has fixed volumetric allocations rather than proportional four treaties with India,16 those agreements do not or percentage allocations, and they typically are inflex- say anything about climate changes or address the ible in the face of shortages. Few agreements include uncertainty posed by potential effects of changing standards for water quality. Many trans b oundary melt dynamics from glaciers of the HKH. However, agreements lack monitoring, enforcement, and con- Bhutan and India have a long-standing agreement for flict resolution procedures. Overcommitment of river cofinancing and benefits dating back to the Chukka waters leads to disputes; a 2007 assessment included the Power Plant. It will be interesting to see whether and Indus River in the list of rivers that are "severely over how emerging international private and public-private committed" (Molle et al., 2007).18 This points again to the need for flexibility in any water management agree- 15 With ments, as stated above. The Indus agreement, however, extensive irrigation systems, the Indus River Basin was already the subject of contested water management by Indian states does at least divide the river entirely by tributary, and when the new countries of India and Pakistan were created in 1947. the Ganges agreement has varying allocations depend- In April 1948, India cut off water to several major canals, However, ing on flow. this was followed by extended negotiations under the auspices of the Fischhendler (2004), McCaffrey (2003), and Tar- World Bank and a consortium of donors, leading to the Indus River Treaty of 1960 (Michel, 1967; Wolf and Newton, 2008). Indus lock (2000) identify some mechanisms that can add Waters Treaty provisions for appointment of a neutral expert (An- flexibility in the face of climate change to existing trea- nexure F) and an international court of arbitration (Annexure G) ties, and Cooley et al. (2012) extend these mechanisms. have recently been tested. The full text of the treaty is available at: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/COUNTRIES/ Among the leading recommendations are as follows: SOUTHASIAEXT/0,,contentMDK:20320047~pagePK:146736~pi PK:583444~theSitePK:223547,00.html. 16 The Kosi River agreements of 1954, 1966, and 1978, and the 17 A riparian area is the area along a river bank. Gandak Power Project agreement of 1959 (Hamner and Wolf, 18 India's Cauvery River, not part of this study and not fed by 1998). The full text of the agreements are available at: http://ocid. glacial melt, has also been the subject of dispute because of overal- nacse.org/tfdd/treaties.php. location.
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ENVIRONMENTAL RISK AND SECURITY 87 · Address how water allocations can be made · In particularly "hot" conflicts, when political more flexible in the face of altered timing and avail- concerns override, a suboptimal solution may be the ability of flows. best one can achieve. · Incorporate water quality provisions. · Develop explicit water management strategies Other considerations include designing upstream inter- for extreme events, including floods and droughts. ventions that minimize downstream impacts and the · Provide clear amendment and review processes importance of advance notice about such interventions. for changing conditions. Extensive research and policy discussions around · Create joint institutions to facilitate adaptation water security have also taken place within the coun- to climate change, including technical committees and tries of South Asia. In India, for example, analysts have shared models and data. suggested that water issues with Pakistan and China have the potential to become catalysts for conflict, Recently, Chellaney (2011) has suggested that but that political deadlocks with Nepal and Bangla- the extensive technical boards and task forces, public desh could be broken through sensible water-sharing engagement processes, and voting procedures employed arrangements and resource development (IDSA, by the International Joint Commission between Can- 2010).19 Within Pakistan, it has been suggested that ada and the United States offer promising precedents while Kashmir is the major source of tension between for expanding the scope, capability, and efficacy of the the two countries, discord over several upstream river presently small bilateral treaty commissions in South projects being constructed by India has the potential to Asia (cf. Article VIII of the Indus Waters Treaty on provoke increasing conflict between the two countries. the Permanent Indus Commission, in which Article Increasingly, however, conflicts over water are not VIII(10) states that "the Commission shall determine only the result of international disputes, but are also its own procedures," as well as Article VII on "Future subnational. The challenges can be even greater at the Cooperation," which support the view that there is flex- subnational level, where frameworks and strategies for ibility even in the most detailed agreements). reducing conflicts over water as a development issue are Similarly, Wolf and Newton (2008) provide anal- protracted (e.g., Iyer, 2003; Joy et al., 2008; Mohan et yses of international water agreements, including al., 2010). Regional and local legal and water manage- historical details, the principal actors, and "lessons ment institutions are often weak, and water infrastruc- learned" about the resolution of conflicts. The major ture can be insufficiently developed, poorly maintained, lessons learned from the Indus River Treaty case study or ill-suited to needs. Dams, for instance, are sometimes (Oregon State University, 2012a), for example, include purportedly built because they are large infrastructure the following: projects that have symbolic, political, and financial benefits, rather than because they solve water supply · Power inequities may delay the pace of problems effectively, although there is debate about this negotiations. issue (e.g., Briscoe and Malik, 2006; Gyawali, 2011; · Positive, active, and continuous involvement of Iyer, 2007). Dams may also raise distributional conflicts a third party is vital in helping to overcome conflict. and spur political tension as downstream and upstream · Coming to the table with financial assistance communities receive unequal benefits, or as one com- can provide sufficient incentive for a breakthrough in munity benefits at the expense of the other (Beck et al., agreement. 2012; Duflo and Pande, 2007). · Some points may be agreed to more quickly if Improvements in water management are more it is explicitly agreed that a precedent is not being set. likely to occur at the national and subnational levels · Shifting political boundaries can turn intrana- than the international level; therefore, a focus on man- tional disputes into international conflicts, exacerbating agement at these levels is more likely to be successful tensions over existing issues. · Sensitivity to each party's particular hydrological 19 Malhotra (2010) provides another perspective from India on concerns is crucial in determining the bargaining mix. water issues.
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88 HIMALAYAN GLACIERS: CLIMATE CHANGE, WATER RESOURCES, AND WATER SECURITY than efforts to create optimal, regionwide agreements. over water that have occurred over the past four However, channels of cooperation relating to cross- decades and that are relevant to this study. All but one boundary scientific assessment could open up if science of the 23 conflicts are national or subnational, and 21 is seen as neutral ground and new data are regarded as are development disputes20--although 6 of those 21 being of mutual benefit. Table 4.1 lists selected entries from the Water Conflict Chronology (Gleick, 2011) from the HKH region through 2010. Not all of these entries involve 20 "[W]here water resources or water systems are a major source watersheds that derive water from glacial melt, but of contention and dispute in the context of economic or social they are indicative of the kinds of regional conflicts development" (Gleick, 2011). TABLE 4.1 Examples of Water Conflicts in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan Region Date Parties Involved Basis of Conflict Description 1970 Chinese citizens Development dispute Conflicts over excessive water withdrawals and subsequent water shortages from China's Zhang River have been worsening for over three decades between villages in Shenxian and Linzhou counties. In the 1970s, militias from competing villages fought over withdrawals. (See also entries for 1976, 1991, 1992, and 1999.) 1976 Chinese citizens Development dispute In 1976, a local militia chief is shot to death in a clash over the damming of Zhang River. and government Conflicts over excessive water withdrawals and subsequent water shortages from China's Zhang River have been worsening for over three decades. (See also entries for 1970, 1991, 1992, and 1999.) 1991 Chinese villages of Development dispute In December 1991, the villages of Huanglongkou and Qianyu exchange mortar fire over the Huanglongkou and construction of new water diversion facilities. Conflicts over excessive water withdrawals and Qianyu subsequent water shortages from China's Zhang River have been worsening for over three decades. (See also entries for 1970, 1976, 1992, and 1999.) 1991-present Karnataka, India Development dispute Violence erupts when Karnataka rejects an Interim Order handed down by the Cauvery Waters Tribunal, set up by the Indian Supreme Court. The Tribunal was established in 1990 to settle two decades of dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu over irrigation rights to the Cauvery River. 1999 Bangladesh Development dispute, Fifty are hurt during strikes called to protest power and water shortages, led by former political tool Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia. 1999 China Development dispute, Around the Lunar New Year, farmers from Hebei and Henan Provinces fight over limited terrorism water resources. Heavy weapons, including mortars and bombs, were used and nearly 100 villagers were injured. Houses and facilities were damaged and the total loss reached one million US dollars. 2000 Hazarajat, Development dispute Violent conflicts break out over water resources in the villages of Burna Legan and Taina Afghanistan Legan, and in other parts of the region, as drought depletes local resources. 2000 Gujarat, India Development dispute Water riots are reported in some areas of Gujarat amidst protests against authorities' failure to arrange adequate supplies of tanker water. Police are reported to have shot into a crowd at Falla village near Jamnagar, resulting in the death of three and injuries to 20 following protests against the diversion of water from the Kankavati dam to Jamnagar town. 2001 Pakistan Development dispute, Long-term drought and water shortages lead to civil unrest in Pakistan. Protests begin in terrorism March and continue into summer, leading to riots, 4 bombings, 12 injuries, and 30 arrests. Ethnic conflicts erupt as some groups "accuse the government of favoring the populous Punjab province (over Sindh province) in water distribution." 2002 Kashmir, India Development dispute Two people are killed and 25 others injured in Kashmir when police fire at a group of clashing villagers. The incident takes place in Garend village in a dispute over sharing water from an irrigation stream. 2002 Nepal Terrorism, political The Khumbuwan Liberation Front (KLF) blows up a hydroelectric powerhouse in Bhojpur tool District on January 26, cutting off power to Bhojpur and surrounding areas. By June 2002, Maoist rebels had destroyed more than seven micro-hydro projects as well as an intake of a drinking water project and pipelines supplying water to Khalanga in western Nepal. 2002 Karnataka, Tamil Development dispute Violence continues over the allocation of the Cauvery (Kaveri) River between Karnataka Nadu, India and Tamil Nadu, including riots, arrests, property destruction, and more than 30 injuries.
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ENVIRONMENTAL RISK AND SECURITY 89 TABLE 4.1 Continued Date Parties Involved Basis of Conflict Description 2004 India Development dispute Four people are killed in October and more than 30 are injured in November in ongoing protests by farmers over allocations of water from the Indira Gandhi Irrigation Canal in Sriganganagar District, which borders Pakistan. Authorities impose curfews on the towns of Gharsana, Raola, and Anoopgarh. 2004 China Development dispute Tens of thousands of farmers stage a sit-in against the construction of the Pubugou Dam on the Dadu River in Sichuan Province. Riot police are deployed to quell the unrest, and one policeman is killed. Witnesses also report the deaths of a number of residents. (See China 2006 for follow-up.) 2007 India Development dispute Thousands of farmers breach security and storm the area around the Hirakud Dam in the east Indian state of Odisha (Orissa) to protest allocation of water to industry. Minor injuries are reported during the conflict between the farmers and police. 2008 Pakistan Terrorism In October, the Taliban threatens to blow up Warsak Dam, the main water supply for the city of Peshawar during a government offensive in the region. 2008 China, Tibet Military tool, China launches a political crackdown in Tibet. At least some observers have noted the development dispute importance of Tibet for the water resources of China, although the political complications between Tibet and China extend far beyond water. As noted: "Tibet is referred to in some circles as the `world's water tower'; the Tibetan Plateau is home to vast reserves of glaciated water, the sources of 10 of the largest rivers in Asia, including the Yellow, Yangtze, Mekong, Brahmaputra, Salween, Hindus and Sutlej among others. By some estimates, the Tibetan plateau is the source of fresh water for fully a quarter of the world's population." 2009 India Development dispute On December 3, police clash with hundreds of Mumbai residents protesting water cuts. One man is killed and a dozen others injured. Mumbai authorities are faced with rationing supplies after the worst monsoon season in decades. 2009 India Development dispute A family in Madhya Pradesh state in India is killed by a small mob for illegally drawing water from a municipal pipe. Others ran to collect water for themselves before the pipe ran out. Drought and inequality in water distribution lead to more than 50 violent clashes in the region in the month of May, and media reports more than a dozen people killed and even more injured since January, mostly fighting over a bucket of water. 2009 China and India Military tool, China claims a part of historical Tibet that is now under Indian control as part of the state development dispute of Arunachal Pradesh. To influence this territorial dispute, China tries to block a $2.9 billion loan to India from the Asian Development Bank on the grounds that part of this loan was destined for water projects in the disputed area. 2010 Pakistani tribes Development dispute, More than 100 are dead and scores injured following 2 weeks of tribal fighting in Parachinar military tool in the Kurram region of Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border. The conflict over irrigation water began as the Shalozan Tangi tribe cut off supplies to the Shalozan tribe. Some report that the terrorist group al-Qaida may be involved; others claim sectarian violence is to blame as one group is Sunni Muslim and the other Shiite. 2010 Mangal and Tori Development dispute A water dispute in Pakistan's tribal region leads to 116 deaths. In early September, the tribes, Pakistan Mangal tribe stopped water irrigation on lands used by the Tori tribe, leading to fighting. 2010 India Development dispute A protest about water shortages leads to violence. Erratic water supply, and eventually a complete cutoff of water in the Kondli area of Mayur Vihar in east Delhi, causes a violent protest and several injuries. SOURCE: Gleick (2011). also have another basis (political tool,21 terrorism,22 water are the usual immediate causes of violence. In or military tool23). Scarcity and unequal allocations of general, these results confirm the notion that coun- tries are more likely to cooperate--or at least negoti- 21 "[W]here water resources, or water systems themselves, are ate--than to go to war over water, but that there could used by a nation, state, or non-state actor for a political goal" (Gleick, 2011). be violence and instability at the substate level. In 22 "[W]here water resources, or water systems, are the targets or addition, water may be the occasion for violence but tools of violence or coercion by non-state actors" (Gleick, 2011). not a sufficient basis in itself. Climate change, accord- 23 "[W]here water resources, or water systems themselves, are used by a nation or state as a weapon during a military action" ingly, might be best thought of as a "stress multiplier." (Gleick, 2011).
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90 HIMALAYAN GLACIERS: CLIMATE CHANGE, WATER RESOURCES, AND WATER SECURITY A similar analysis may be undertaken for the Indus The history of international river disputes and and Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basins using the agreement suggests that cooperation is a more likely Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database's Inter- outcome than violent conflict. However, the relevance national Water Events Database, which codes events of this history may be attenuated by the dramatic reported in news sources on a 14-point scale from -7 increase in the number of state and nonstate actors, (formal declaration of war) to +7 (voluntary unifica- larger populations, changes in patterns of economic tion) from 1948 to 2008. Although the mixed sources growth, and the complexity of the challenges. Because of records, challenges of coding them, and relation- of changes in political and social conditions, historical ships between reports and reality need to be consid- patterns may not be able to provide insight into current ered, four rough patterns seem apparent in these data: and future challenges. Moreover, if trends combine in especially danger- · No events are reported at the -7 level (formal ous ways, conflicts might outstrip the ability of exist- declaration) of water war (and only 1 or 2 are at the -6 ing institutions to cope along normal lines, thereby to -4 levels of water conflict). escalating national security crises. For example, major · Both the Indus and the Ganges/Brahmaputra deterioration in international relations might coincide basins have a bimodal distribution of relatively lower with dramatic fluctuations in transboundary flows, levels of conflict and cooperation. rising flood risks perceived to result from mismanage- · Both basins appear to have a somewhat higher ment by upstream nations, social media allowing mis- frequency of cooperation than conflict. perceptions to be widely diffused and used as a basis · There are several examples of significant inter- for mobilizing action regardless of official attempts national agreements (+6 level). to control the narrative, or heightened conditions of general water scarcity driven by rising demand and Each of these databases and others like them have declining groundwater resources. Monitoring the significant limitations. They do not, for example, con- conditions that drive these potential situations would vey shifts in international relations that may be associ- be worthwhile. ated with major constitutional transitions, and which In addition to transboundary and international can include water governance, for example, in countries threats to security, there is a growing risk of internal such as Nepal and Pakistan. They do however offer conflict over water resources. Increases in floods, espe- partial perspectives on the types and trends of water- cially floods that are larger than those that have been related conflict and cooperation. experienced in recent history, can kill and injure many people, destroy property and livelihoods, and pressure Future Political Stresses and Water Conflicts governments in ways that trigger legitimacy problems. If such floods repeat in the same area over short periods, Traditional political and ideological questions that downward spirals in livelihoods and legitimacy could have long dominated international discourse and con- occur. Similarly, water scarcity problems--whether tributed to international and subnational conflicts are triggered by shifts in rainfall or runoff patterns, changes now involving other factors that were less important in groundwater recharge rates and availability, or altera- in the past. These include population growth, trans- tions in water demands--could trigger similar crises if national pollution, resource scarcity, and inequitable they endure over long periods in areas of significant access to resources and their use (Gleick, 1998). As vulnerable populations and weak water management the climate changes, shifts in the timing, availability, institutions. In addition, the threat posed by continu- or quality of water resources in parts of the region ing overdraft of groundwater resources may be even may play an increasing role in political tensions, either more important than consequent changes in glacial directly through disputes over access to water, or indi- melt and its contribution to the rivers of South Asia rectly through changes in agricultural production and (Darnault, 2008; Shah, 2009). Whether or not water food security or other concerns. stresses escalate into security crises will depend in part on governmental capacity; therefore, the most danger-
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ENVIRONMENTAL RISK AND SECURITY 91 ous situations are those that combine high water stress Risk Factors and Vulnerabilities. Starting from those and state fragility. concepts, the Committee used its expert judgment, Some historical analysis suggests that societies can reviews of the literature, and deliberation to develop be very slow to act upon strong signals from environ- the following conclusions: mental change, resulting in breakdowns that, from a historical vantage, are shocking (e.g., Diamond, 2004). · Natural disasters in South Asia involve meteoro- The frequency with which breakdowns occur due to logical, hydrological, and geophysical phenomena that environmental stress have led some analysts to argue are not unique to the HKH region. Current efforts that that societies should consider carefully how they will focus on these natural hazards and disaster reduction rebuild (Homer-Dixon, 2006). in South Asia can offer useful lessons when consider- Even in the absence of catastrophic events, existing ing and addressing the potential for impacts resulting water management institutions and treaty arrange- from changes in snowmelt processes and glacial retreat ments would need to evolve in order for cooperation to in the region. be a more likely outcome than conflict. The web of eco- · Current international datasets indicate that over nomic and social relationships in the region has become the past century, natural disasters in the region have increasingly complex and intricate, and the numbers of been flood-dominated in terms of the frequency of stakeholders and interested parties in water resource events and number of people affected. However, the management have multiplied. This creates new sets of number of people killed over the past century by natu- challenges for governance and stability. International ral disasters was dominated by droughts and related treaties may also have to adopt a more integrated eco- famines. Over the past 30-year period the patterns logical approach so that water issues are not considered and trends are less clear. Floods have had increasing in isolation from the management of land, energy, and significance in the numbers of people affected, while other resources. This creates a greater role for scientific earthquakes have been associated with the highest knowledge and makes international collaboration on number of people killed. scientific issues all the more important. · Modernization and globalization may reduce More generally, regional--as opposed to bilateral-- losses of life and long-term macroeconomic impacts frameworks for resource management may become of disasters, but they can also increase the numbers of increasingly necessary (and if robust regional gover- people affected and the economic damages. nance mechanisms emerge, then new forms of early · At the regional level of disaster management, warning and response will become possible). Histori- organizations give particular emphasis to international cally, large regional powers throughout the world have cooperation, information sharing, and capacity build- tended to favor bilateral arrangements, which have ing, as well as an increasing emphasis on linking climate been the norm, while small and medium powers have change with disaster risk reduction. At the national and enjoyed greater leverage within multilateral institutions state levels, processes of devolution or centralization (see Naidu  and Singh  for a discussion of over time can affect disaster response. An increased the shift in India's position in favor of multilateralism). focus on vulnerability and resilience within the disaster Moving forward, however, as countries such as India research community could lead to improved disaster play a more prominent role on the world stage, they management. may be increasingly willing to embrace regional and · Changes in transboundary water flows can multilateral arrangements and try, to the extent pos- generate or increase conflicts of interest among ripar- sible, to structure these institutions to their advantage. ian countries, and these climate-induced changes will further complicate changes driven by economic, demo- CONCLUSIONS graphic, and political factors. · Among the most serious challenges, even in Key features of the environmental security of the the absence of climate change, are the magnitude of HKH region were identified at the workshop by the conflicting demands for limited water resources, the breakout groups on Demography and Security and lack of corresponding institutional capacity to cope
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92 HIMALAYAN GLACIERS: CLIMATE CHANGE, WATER RESOURCES, AND WATER SECURITY with such conflicts, and the current political disputes resources may still play an increasing role in politi- among regional actors that complicate reaching any cal tensions, especially if existing water management agreements on resource disputes. Water management institutions do not evolve to take better account of the institutions need to think systematically about integrat- social, economic, and ecological complexities in the ing climate change risks in water resources policy, and region. Agreements will likely reflect existing political they need to function in ways that are flexible and take relations more than optimal management strategies. account of the interests of all parties. · Changes to the hydrological system are inevita- · The most dangerous situation to monitor for ble, and adaptation is needed at all levels of governance. is a combination of state fragility (encompassing, e.g., Lessons can be learned from developed countries, but recent violent conflict, obstacles to economic develop- these arrangements will not operate in the same way, ment, and weak management institutions) and high and the time horizon for these solutions to bear fruit water stress. might be significant. Adaptation approaches need to be · Although the history of international river dis- flexible enough to change with changing conditions, for putes and agreements in this region suggests that coop- example, smaller-scale and lower-cost water manage- eration is a more likely outcome than violent conflict, ment systems, because of uncertainty in impacts and social conditions may have changed in ways that make the dynamic nature of coming changes. There is a need historical patterns less informative about current and to think through adaptation protocols now rather than future challenges. Changes in the availability of water when fear and urgency have become widespread.