22-28 July 2016 #818

Diverting danger

BBC Nepali Service, 20 July

Nepal Army

Situated in Solukhumbu’s Everest region, the fast-growing Imja Tso glacial lake is considered to be the second-most dangerous glacial lake. To curb the possible threat of a glacial lake outburst flood, the Nepal Army has been implementing a project to reduce the lake’s water level.

Perched at a height of over 4,800 metres, the lake is spread over one kilometre, is 150 metres deep and carries over 70 million litres of water.

With the support of the Nepal Department of Hydrology and Meteorology and UNDP, the Army is building a canal to transport the lake water and reduce its level by three metres. Experts believe that the risk of the lake bursting will be minimised once the water is transferred.

The 50 m-long canal will divert the lake’s water to merge with the Dudh Koshi river through the Imja river. This risk-minimisation initiative — which is being carried out at an altitude surpassing all previous efforts — is estimated to cost up to $3 million.

The work to carve out the canal started in April this year and will soon be completed, with assistance from the Nepal Army and locals in the area.