Glacial lake at just 2,546m, govt yet to fathom its potential

- BHIM GHIMIRE, Kaski
Glacial lake at just 2,546m, govt yet to fathom its potential

Apr 7, 2015-While all glacial lakes in the country are located 4,000 metres above sea level, Kapuche glacial lake is unique in that it is ideally located just 2,546 metres above sea level. But despite immense tourism potential it has shown, the government as well as tourism entrepreneurs have not been able to cash in on it.   

The glacial lake, which is formed after glacier erodes the land and then melts to fill the space that it has created, is the only such lake to be located at an astonishingly low altitude. Experts say that it is surprising to find a glacial lake below 4,000 metres.

The lake, which has grown in size over the years and continues to do so, is situated merely eight hours uphill walk from Sikles VDC, making it a perfect destination for tourists and trekking enthusiasts with limited time and budget.  

Man Bahadur Gurung, chairperson of the local conservation committee who treks to the glacial lake at least twice a year, said that he finds it surprising that despite holding immense tourism potential, local authorities as well as tourism entrepreneurs have not been able to devise ways to promote the lake and benefit from it.  

“However, the trail leading to the lake is not very easy,” Gurung said, adding that he was trying to find an alternative route to the lake.

“But, it is not easy to find an investor ready to bear the expenses for the survey and construction of the foot trail,” he said. Moreover, even the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DoHM) does not have much information about the lake. Dr. Hum Bahadur Gurung, a noted conservationist who hails from Sikles, said that the department started to take keen interest in the lake only recently.  

“The Department of Hydrology and Meteorology should immediately conduct a detailed survey of the Kapuche glacial lake to gather more information about the lake,” Dr Gurung said,

In a telephone conversation with the Post, DoHM’s director Rishi Ram Sharma said that he had learned about the glacial lake from Dr Gurung, adding that it was indeed surprising to find a glacial lake at such a low altitude and that it needed to be surveyed.

Sharma said the lake had managed to fall off the government’s radar due to tendency of its agencies to only take note of those glacial lakes which pose an immediate threat of bursting through the glacial dam.  “Instead of just looking at it from tourism point of view, a glacial lake which is expanding in size is a cause for concern and that it needed to be properly surveyed for probable effects and threats it poses,” he said.

While government agencies are just learning about the lake, Japanese environmentalist Jiro Komori, who is assistant professor at the Teikyo Heisei University, Japan, has already conducted a detailed survey of the lake, said local hotel entrepreneur Dhan Gurung, who had accompanied him the Japanese professor to the lake. Citing Komori, Gurung said the lake is some 40 metres deep spanning 300 metres in width and 400 metres in length.     

Published: 08-04-2015 08:47

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