Tsho Rolpa to get early warning system

The high-tech early warning system to alert the communities about the Glacier Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) is going to be installed in the Tsho Rolpa Glacial Lake, an official in the Climate Risk Management said.

Tsho Rolpa – is one of the biggest glacial lakes in the country – has been categorised by scientists as potentially the most dangerous glacial lake.

The high-tech technology will alert people on the downstream if the level of water increases in the lake and also provide updates for the locals about the status of lake and the daily weather systems.

The system will include a sensor that would automatically inform as soon as the water level on the lake rises or a dam bursts. In addition, it will send the message to the Global Packet Radio System (GPRS) installed CDMA phone and thereafter, a message will be sent to all locals residing in the downstream instantly thorough the system.

There will be automatic weather monitoring system, web camera-type equipment that will monitor the weather systems regularly and feed the system.

The government of Nepal with the support from the Netherlands had installed the early warning system (siphons that create sound in the event of a lake burst) in 2000, but due to the lack of continuous monitoring during the war time, the system collapsed.

“There is need of a strong early warning system that will involve communities and train locals about the information dissemination system. So the UNDP is working with the Department of Hydrology and Metrology and Practical Action to install the early warning system,” said Deepak K.C, project officer, Climate Risk Management, UNDP.

The new high tech installation would cost over $1,000,000 and the UNDP has already allocated the budget. According to the study, Tsho Rolpa Glacial Lake stores 1,00,000,000 cubic meters of water behind an unconsolidated moraine dam in the Rolwaling Valley, 110 km northeast of Kathmandu in Gaurishanker VDC of Dolakha district.

According to the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) report, Nepal has experienced 14 GLOF events in the recent past, several of which have caused considerable damage and loss of life.

It has been estimated that over 6,000 people could be affected if the Tsho Rolpa Glacier Lake burst. According to ICIMOD, there are 3,252 glaciers that cover an area of 5,322 sq km with approximately 481 km of ice reserves. The number of glacial lakes in the country is 1,466 of which 21 lakes, including Tsho Rolpa, are categorised as potentially critical glacial lakes.

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