HKH region? What are the surface water-groundwater recharge mechanisms in the region? How will climate change affect groundwater supply? How can hydrological data become more widely accessible to the science and management communities? How can remote sensing be used in conjunction with well data to increase understanding of groundwater in the region?
Currently available demographic compositional data do not conform to geophysical parameters and lack the necessary spatial resolution to determine whether, for example, certain basins and/or elevation zones will experience higher rates of population growth than others. Current understanding of water usage is poor because of a lack of regional datasets. Remote sensing advances may address some of these deficiencies, particularly in the plains. Improved measurement of water withdrawals from surface water, and even more so groundwater pumping, will be crucial for developing, monitoring, and managing regional water budgets, hazards, and stresses. As lowland water and energy scarcity may increase demand for mountain water storage, advances in water use analysis will have increasing importance. Improved datasets and monitoring would help answer the following questions:
• Demographics: How will populations change in areas with water scarcity as compared with areas with sufficient water supplies?
• Water-use patterns: How can major improvements in water-use data collection, access, and utilization be accelerated? How do changing lifestyles, standards of living, and demographic trends affect water supply, demand, and management?
• Water management: What dams are planned in the region, and how will they affect water management and hydrology? How can the results of international- and national-level climate assessments be incorporated into water management and policy at the subnational level?
Environmental Risk and Security
Hazard datasets remain inconsistent and not coded in ways that enable causal analysis of large-N samples of floods, droughts, heat waves, and secondary impacts associated with climate variability. Although deaths and numbers of persons affected are regularly reported, and to a lesser extent physical damages (e.g., houses and infrastructure destroyed), rigorous economic damage and need estimation are a priority for policy research. Disaster resilience, recovery, and reconstruction processes are less well documented than initial impacts, in part because they occur when postdisaster attention wanes. The human dimensions of loss and reconstruction require intensive field research, and strong relationships between research and practice. New methods of postdisaster mobile phone survey data transfer and mapping have considerable promise for advancing socioeconomic lines of research on a regional scale. Improved economic, social, and political datasets would help answer the following questions:
• Natural hazards and vulnerability: Which populations in the region will be most vulnerable to a changing climate? What are the proximate and root causes of vulnerability in the HKH region? How do alternatives for secure and sustainable livelihoods differ for populations in the mountains more dependent on glaciers and larger downstream populations on the plains? How can the results of collaborative research on exemplars of disaster-resilient settlement, infrastructure, and housing in mountain environments of the HKH region complement initiatives to increase collaboration on climate change, glaciology glacial lake outburst flood monitoring, and flood warning—and help increase the prospects for successful adaptation to changes in climate and hydrology in the region? How can early-warning systems be used to minimize deaths from hazards such as GLOFs?
• Security dynamics and water conflict: What is the current and future institutional capacity to absorb change at the local, national, and international levels? How can the research community design appropriate metrics to monitor the capacity of governmental institutions to address water stress? Does water stress, among other stressors, affect state stability? Through what mechanisms? What are the possibilities for better incorporation of scientific information about glaciers, hydrology, and climate change into international water-sharing treaties? Will climate change impacts on glacial melt and hydrology be severe enough to