Verifying and Refining the GLOF Hazard and Vulnerability Assessments for Community Based Flood and Glacial Lake Outburst Risk Reduction Project

Glacial lake outburst flood accompanying the huge amount of sediments from moraines not only causes morphological changes along the river channel but also results the loss of life and properties at very great distances from the outburst source to downstream.Altogether 21 GLOF events with large scale damages have been experienced in Nepal. The risk of GLOF has been increasing as a result of global warming and consequent melting of snow and ice, retreat of glaciers and expansion of existing glacial lakes, and emergence of new glacial lakes. The probability of loss/damage can be substantially reduced and the resilience/restoration capacity can be enhanced through different interventions.

Imja Glacial Lake was identified as high priority lakes needing immediate attention of GLOF risk reduction. Realizing the urgent needs to responds to potential GLOF risk, Community Based Flood and Glacial Lake Outburst Risk Reduction Project (CFGORRP) has been framed. It is a joint undertaking of the Government of Nepal (GON), Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project is being implemented by Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (MoSTE) as the lead Implementing Agency. One of the objectives of this project is to reduce human and material losses from potential Imja Glacier Lake Outburst Flooding (GLOF) in Solukhumbu district.

The main objective is this work to verify, validate and refine the existing GLOF vulnerability assessments undertaken by different national and international organizations by using a participatory vulnerability and risk mapping approach, as a tool and increase local knowledge about GLOF risks and risk management as envisaged in National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA).

The study area covers the whole reach from Imja Glacier Lake to downstream to the confluence of Dudhkoshi with Sunkosi near Ghurmi. However, the detailed participatory field study was carried out in 50 km downstream area from the lake and the secondary information is used in further downstream area.The method of data collection consisted of i) collection and review of published and unpublished documents, ii) consultative meetings with the relevant institutions such as ICIMOD, UNDP, DHM, WECS, MoSTE, Practical Action, and others; iii) transect walks and direct observation from the lake site to downstream area iv) Key Informants Interview (KII) both in the field and Kathmandu and v) Participatory Focus Group discussion at community level.A total of nine FGD was organized between the Imja lake to Thadokoshi within 50 km downstream area along Dudhkoshi river. Similarly, a total of seven Key Informants were interviewed.