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Importance and vulnerability of the world�s water towers

Immerzeel, WW and Lutz, AF and Andrade, M and Bahl, A and Biemans, H and Bolch, T and Hyde, S and Brumby, S and Davies, BJ and Elmore, AC and Emmer, A and Feng, M and Fernández, A and Haritashya, U and Kargel, JS and Koppes, M and Kraaijenbrink, PDA and Kulkarni, AV and Mayewski, PA and Nepal, S and Pacheco, P and Painter, TH and Pellicciotti, F and Rajaram, H and Rupper, S and Sinisalo, A and Shrestha, AB and Viviroli, D and Wada, Y and Xiao, C and Yao, T and Baillie, JEM (2019) Importance and vulnerability of the world�s water towers. In: Nature, 577 (7790). pp. 364-369.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-019-1822-y


Mountains are the water towers of the world, supplying a substantial part of both natural and anthropogenic water demands1,2. They are highly sensitive and prone to climate change3,4, yet their importance and vulnerability have not been quantified at the global scale. Here we present a global water tower index (WTI), which ranks all water towers in terms of their water-supplying role and the downstream dependence of ecosystems and society. For each water tower, we assess its vulnerability related to water stress, governance, hydropolitical tension and future climatic and socio-economic changes. We conclude that the most important (highest WTI) water towers are also among the most vulnerable, and that climatic and socio-economic changes will affect them profoundly. This could negatively impact 1.9 billion people living in (0.3 billion) or directly downstream of (1.6 billion) mountainous areas. Immediate action is required to safeguard the future of the world�s most important and vulnerable water towers. © 2019, The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Limited.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Nature
Publisher: Nature Research
Additional Information: The copyright of this article belongs to Nature Research
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Divecha Centre for Climate Change
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2021 10:19
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2021 10:19
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/64386

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