Reducing Climate Change-induced Risks and Vulnerabilities from Glacial Lake Outburst Floods in the Punakha-Wangdi and Chamkhar Valleys
Implementing Agency and Partnering Organizations:Government of Bhutan: Department of Geology and Mines, Department of Disaster Management, Department of Energy, Gross National Happiness Commission, Dzongkhag (district level) administrations
This project was identified by the National Adaptation Programme of Action of Bhutan as a national priority to address the adverse impacts of climate change. Its goal is to enhance adaptive capacity to climate change-induced disaster impacts in Bhutan. As a contribution to the achievement of this goal, the project objective is to 'reduce climate change-induced risks and vulnerabilities from glacial lake outbursts in the Punakha-Wangdi and Chamkhar Valleys.'
The project addresses urgent priorities from the recently concluded NAPA process in Bhutan. The project will integrate climate risk projections into existing DRM practices and implement corresponding capacity development measures at the national, district, and community levels. The project will demonstrate a practical approach to reduce GLOF risks from Thorthormi Glacier Lake, which is one of Bhutan’s most dangerous glacier lakes with a worst-case-scenario outburst projection as early as 2010.
The lessons learned in this project will facilitate replication of GLOF risk reduction in other high risk areas, both within and outside Bhutan. The project will also ensure that the existing EWS in the PW Valley, which is not currently equipped to handle the full extent of GLOF risks, is expanded to take sufficient account of this growing risk. Lessons learned from this initiative will enable up-scaling of EWS in other areas vulnerable to GLOFs.
The project’s goal is to enhance adaptive capacity to prevent climate change-induced GLOF disasters in Bhutan and its objective is to reduce GLOF risks in the Punakha-Wangdi (PW) and Chamkhar Valleys.
The project is organized according to the following four outcomes and subsidiary outputs:
- Improved national, regional, and local capacities to prevent climate change-induced GLOF disasters in the PW and Chamkhar Valleys Institutionalized climate-resilient DRM legislation, policy frameworks, and guidelines. Strengthened capacities for climate risk planning at the district (dzongkhag) administrative levels. Information on climate hazards and GLOF vulnerabilities in Bhutan systematically captured, updated,and synthesized. Awareness raised in communities vulnerable to climate-related GLOF risks.
- Reduced risks of a GLOF from Thorthormi Lake through an artificial lake level management system Engineering and safety plans for risk reduction measures on Thorthormi Lake developed. Lowered Thorthormi Lake water levels. Water levels of Thorthormi Lake and status of artificial lowering system regularly monitored and maintained. Technical knowledge and lessons from the process of artificially lowering lake levels captured and documented for use in future projects.
- Reduced human and material losses in vulnerable communities in the PW Valley through GLOF early warnings Technical components for a GLOF EWS in PW Valley installed and operational. Established institutional arrangements to operate, test, and maintain the GLOF EWS. Raised awareness of communities in the PW Valley on operation of EWS. Raised awareness of safe GLOF evacuation areas in each vulnerable community in the PW Valley. Technical knowledge and lessons learned in the installation and operation of GLOF EWS captured and documented for use in future projects.
- Enhanced learning, evaluation, and adaptive management Project lessons captured and disseminated through the Adaptation Learning Mechanism. Project knowledge shared with other GLOF-prone countries.
UNDP Regional Technical Advisor
- Gernot Laganda
- Email: Gernot.Laganda@undp.org
UNDP Focal Point
- Ms. Anne Erica Larsen
- Energy, Environment & Disaster Management Unit
- United Nations Development Programme
- Samten Lam, Post Box 162, Thimphu
- Tel: +975 2 322424
Project Status:Under Implementation
Primary Beneficiaries:Local communities in the affected river valleys
- Agriculture/Food Security
- Coastal Zones and Marine Ecosystems
- Water Resources
- Public Health
Potential Adaptation Measures
Agriculture and Food Security
- Educational & outreach activities to change management practices to those suited to climate change
- Enhance irrigation efficiency and/or expand irrigation
- Agricultural research and transfer of technology
- Develop new crops
- Develop early warning systems and disaster preparedness
- Improve pest and disease forecast and control
- Increase water supply, e.g