Melting of glacial lake threatens life, property

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu/Gorkha

Apr 9, 2015-Locals from Samagaun and other downstream villages in Gorkha, which is located along the Manaslu trekking route, are starting to feel that their life and property are in danger after the water level in one of the rivers flowing from there rose significantly and swept away a wooden bridge on Thursday morning.

Though the exact reason behind the sudden rise in water level in Ghyabo Khola (stream) is yet to be confirmed, it is likely to be related with excessive melting of snow surrounding Birendra Tal, a glacial lake in Samagaun which is located at the foot of Manaslu glacier at an altitude of 4000 meters above sea level.

Police Sub Inspector Arjun Chand at the District Police Office, Gorkha said the sudden rise in water level in the stream fed by the Birendra Tal might have been caused by the melting of snow accumulated during the winter season.

“No serious damages have been reported so far,” Chand said, adding that only one of the wooden bridges joining Samagaun with Samdo along the Manaslu trekking circuit was swept away by the stream.

Rishi Ram Sharma, director general at the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM), said that his office is yet to fully confirm the cause behind the rise in water level in the local stream, “but it is likely to be due to melting of ice along the mountain range due to rise in temperatures.”

“During the summer season, the temperature reaches its peak, resulting in rapid melting of glaciers and ice mass in the mountains. Similar condition might have triggered the incident, which is a normal phenomenon in these parts,” he said. Sharma, added that the officials at DHM are assessing the satellite images to identify the actual cause and will share the details soon.  Similarly, talking with Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal, Raj Kumar Gurung, acting project chief of Manaslu Conservation Area Project informed that the level of water in the Birendra Tal increased after a chunk of snow fell into it from the nearby mountain.

“It is a normal to witness rapid melting of snow during this season,”he said, adding that the flash flood in Ghyabo Khola caused by the increased water flow has not caused much damage. Meanwhile, the water level in the lake is expected to swoop back to normal by Friday.

 

Published: 10-04-2015 08:39

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