GUWAHATI: President Dr Lobsang Sangay of the Central Tibetan Administration said that an acute water crisis is looming large in south Asia as a result of China tinkering with the natural flow of Tibet’s rivers.
Addressing a press conference in Guwahati held as part of the Eastern Himalayan Naturenomics Forum organised by the Balipara Foundation on 3 November, Dr Sangay said that China is likely to divert Tibet’s rivers to its own parched regions, which could cause severe water shortages in South Asia.
“Growing water shortage is a reality and water will be a major cause of discontentment among nations in the future. There are also reports that China is trying to divert the Brahmaputra and assert greater control over Tibet’s vast water resources,” he said.
“If this happens, 1.4 billion people in the downstream countries who are dependent on Tibet’s rivers will be facing a great danger,” he explained.
He further said that the international community should exert pressure on China to let Tibetans be the sole custodian of the Tibetan plateau.
“China should ensure that Tibetans have a say on the development projects taking place on the Tibetan plateau. This is not a political statement but a serious environmental statement,” he explained.
He further said that China should be a signatory to the UN convention on water sharing, as it will ensure that the livelihood of the people in downstream countries are secured.
Dr Sangay also talked about global warming and other man made factors that hasten the depletion of freshwater resources on the Tibetan plateau.
“About 50% of Tibet’s glaciers have already disappeared and that two-thirds of the remaining 46000 glaciers could disappear by 2100. This is a grim situation and all nations should work in concert to find a lasting solution,” he said.
At least 25 media houses from the region attended the press conference.