But as the world’s glaciers continue to melt and shrink, over time there will be less water to sustain the communities that have come to depend on that meltwater. At the road’s end sits a Soviet-era research station that, like the Tuyuksu itself, has seen better days. Last year, at the end of the summer melting season, the team drew lines on the stakes marking the height of the ice, as researchers have done here for decades. Maps by Jeremy White. There is not much incentive, or money, to install improvements like drip irrigation that would save water and improve productivity. Increasing droughts together with industrial poisoning of our water by numerous manufacturers and commercial interests, there is less and less potable water available to drink. The biggest and most notable impact of these glaciers melting is in the rise of sea level. Melting glaciers alone are expected to threaten the drinking water supply for millions of people. That’s adding urgency to the researchers’ work. But global warming is causing glaciers there and around the world to shrink every year. The world’s roughly 150,000 glaciers, not including the large ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica, cover about 200,000 square miles of the earth’s surface. “It’s really important for water managers to know when this tipping point is reached.”. With colleagues from the Kazakhstan Institute of Geography, Dr. Shahgedanova has made the slow trip from Almaty, 15 miles to the north and nearly two miles below, lumbering up a steep, rutted mountain road in a giant Russian utility vehicle. The results of the project will have a vast array of implications, including not only for drinking water treatment, but also for ecosystem management and global climate change models. Runoff from the mountains has not declined so far, Dr. Shahgedanova said. “This project will fill an important knowledge gap,” said Tank. They take regular flow measurements to record how streams change. In six decades, it has lost more than half a mile. This project is part of theCanadian Mountain Network (CMN), hosted by the University of Alberta, which was named a Networks of Centres of Excellence earlier this year. Because the bands of solid ice are formed from melting snow, more bands of … Many canals and ditches are lined with earth, not concrete, so water leaks from them. Eventually these rivers will be affected by glacial retreat, said Arthur Lutz, a hydrologist with FutureWater, a Dutch water-resources consulting firm. As she has for nearly two decades, Maria Shahgedanova, a glaciologist at the University of Reading in England, has come here to check on the Tuyuksu. Near future work will include collaboration with local indigenous communities, such as the Stony Nation and others adjacent to the glaciers and downstreams. But more efficient water management is what Kazakhstan needs to prepare for the days when the flow from glacier-fed rivers starts to drop off. The Sno bottle itself is a beautiful work of art and has been awarded for it's design. It’s losing ice every year. The project, called From the Mountains to Our Tables: Freshwater Security in Three Canadian Eastern Rocky Mountain Watersheds, is being led by a group of University of Alberta scientists out of the Faculty of Science. Since 2003, the United Nations has designated December 11th International Mountain Day, dedicated to raising awareness about opportunities and challenges facing mountain regions, as well as building alliances that will bring positive change to mountain peoples and places around the world. Dr. Shahgedanova and other researchers analyze water samples to determine the mix of sources. He knows it would help conserve water, and the government tells him that is important in an era of climate change. Researchers at the University of Alberta are undertaking a new project to explore how melting glaciers will affect current and future quality of drinking water in Western Canada. The less ice there is, the less water there is for human use, whether it's for drinking, hydroelectric generation, or irrigation. It’s losing ice every year. Over the last four decades they’ve lost the equivalent of a layer of ice 70 feet thick. The liquid water permeates the ice beneath it and refreezes, creating a more solid ice layer than before. As the Tuyuksu melts, the rivulets turn into torrents, carving channels in the surface. He’d like to install drip irrigation on some of his fields. If you mean, whether it is safe to drink the water melting from glaciers and flowing as rivulets to form streams and then join rivers then it is always safe to drink water from bigger streams rather than small rivulets because sometimes mounatin people use small streams for cleaning puposes but they never touch largers streams.. 8.9K views Today, the main reason glaciers have begun to melt is because of human activity. It affects production of hydroelectricity. As the Rocky Mountains warm, reduced winter snows are melting earlier in spring and summer, which can lead to a reduction in water supplies for drinking, irrigation, and hydropower production in key power-producing areas like the Columbia River basin in the Pacific Northwest. Some have shrunk to nothing: Smaller glaciers in places like the Rockies and the Andes have disappeared. Now, looking at a stake nearly a year later, Nikolay Kasatkin, one of the institute researchers, and Dr. Shahgedanova saw that more of the wood was visible. But in a warming climate melting outstrips accumulation, resulting in a net loss of ice. The CMN was established in 2019 to support the resilience and health of Canada’s mountain peoples and places through research partnerships based on Indigenous and Western ways of knowing that inform decision-making and action. But here in the Tien Shan, the biggest impact may be on the supply of water for people and agriculture. (2018). The Tuyuksu, which is about a mile and a half long, is getting shorter as well as thinner. In addition to measuring ice loss on the Tuyuksu, Dr. Shahgedanova and her colleagues study the water in the Little Almaty and other rivers. “The headwaters in these proglacial systems are not well understood. The project is being highlighted to coincide with International Mountain Day 2019. 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On a summer day in the mountains high above Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, the Tuyuksu glacier is melting like mad. Glaciers are a crucial element of the world's ecosystem. By HENRY FOUNTAIN In Central Asia, a warming climate is shrinking the Tuyuksu glacier. “If you are withdrawing more than you are putting in, eventually your account is going to go dry.” However, Mark doubts the Andean glaciers will disappear completely. The 20,000 year old glacier, Eyjafjallajokull is the source of the water. Thus, even if precipitation remains the same in the high mountains, more of the water will be in liquid form, which evaporates more quickly. “We aren’t seeing problems yet,” she said, but some of her models suggest that is poised to change. Adapted from Huss and Hock (2018) and Rowan et al. Now, reaching the ice requires scrambling on foot for the better part of an hour over piles of boulders and till left as the glacier retreated. The less ice there is, the less water there is for human use, whether it's for drinking, hydroelectric generation, or irrigation. JAN. 15, 2019. Other sources include thawing areas of frozen ground, or permafrost, and huge piles of rock fragments and ice that dominate the landscape below many glaciers. In the mountains of Kazakhstan, the decline may start sooner. Glacier to table: Understanding the effects of melting glaciers on drinking water. When flows in these rivers begin to decline, the region’s farmers could face a crisis. This great global melting contributes to sea level rise.