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réserve eau douce climat menance

There is a consequence of global warming that is perhaps even more worrying than rising sea levels; the water shortage that will be caused by the melting glaciers. Today, their ice supplies water to most of the planet’s big rivers. The Yellow River, The Yangtze, The Ganges and the Indus that irrigate the areas inhabited by two billion people thus spring from the Himalayas’ glaciers and the Tibetan plateau!

To start with, the melting ice will cause an overabundance of water. In the 10 mountainous areas, this will cause sudden disastrous flooding. A little lower down, the monsoon will cause gentler but more severe overflowing. Flooding could peak towards 2050 and destroy crops and homes near rivers. Asia is not the only continent under threat: Europe has experienced disastrous floods – in France in 1999 and in Central Europe in 2002 and 2005. In South America, the Andes are following a similar pattern.

The water shortage will then begin because global warming shortens winter and therefore reduces the amount of snow that falls on peaks. The ice that melts in summer will no longer be renewed. After a few decades, there will no longer be enough to supply rivers. Some big Indian rivers could thus become seasonal in the second half of the 20th century. And yet, the rate of flow of the Brahmaputra, to name but one is a 100 times higher than the rate of flow of European rivers such as the Seine, the Ebro river or the Tiber river !

Apart from drinking water supplies and supplies for irrigation, energy production is also under threat. This is because less energy is supplied by dams or because of thermal power station cooling problems Mankind is therefore going to have to adapt to a new world. We might have to leave more dangerous areas, change our farming habits, set up new water management systems…


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