Governing the ‘water tower of Asia’: the case for a system of integrated knowledge for the Hindu Kush Himalaya
Observer Research Foundation
Number of pages
This report builds on existing knowledge about integrated governance and offers a framework for bringing Integrated Water Resource Management closer to practice in managing the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH). Across the globe, the availability of freshwater, both for ecosystems conservation and for meeting people’s needs, is facing a massive crisis. The same is true for the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH), or the “Water Tower of Asia”. The HKH is the source of 10 large rivers of Asia, serving the water needs of 16 countries; at least 2 billion people live in these basins.
Amidst such huge dependence of both human populations and ecosystems, complex governance challenges have emerged. Today the HKH is a hotspot for water crises and their impacts. As early as in 1992, the idea of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) has been proffered as a strategy for managing water resources in a holistic manner and thereby avoiding resource challenges from escalating into crises. IWRM has remained marginal in its utility, however.