Community-based management of Glacial Lake outburst flood : a case study of Samdingkha village in Bhutan
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Climate change is contributing to increased melting of glaciers and formation of glacial lakes. The threat of Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF) is posing a serious threat to the lives and livelihoods of the Bhutanese people. The melting of glaciers is leading to alarming volumes of water in downstream glacial lakes. Increased temperature also causes melting of ice-cored moraine dams to the point that the ridges can no longer resist the pressure. The concern is that when the current holding capacity of the lakes reaches a critical threshold, loose glacial debris that act as dams or barriers could fail and lead to flash floods. This phenomenon results in severe adverse impacts on downstream communities. A large number of communities in the Punakha Valley are vulnerable to GLOF from Glacier Lake at sources of Pho Chu. The risk of damage to their agricultural fields, washing away critical infrastructures, killing of cattle and even losing lives has increase in recent years. Further increased glacial melting and GLOF will have devastating effects on the hydropower plants in the country. Hydropower, which accounts for a significant portion of the country’s revenue involves huge investments in infrastructure and requires sustainable water resources. The study is focused in assessing the Livelihood capital and Vulnerability of people living along the Pho Chu in Samdingkha Village. Field data were collected from Samdingkha village as part of the case study. The information was collected through participatory tools and further followed by DIFDs livelihood analysis guidelines and Expand – Contract Model. To assess the information, literature were reviewed from different journals, books, government policies, meteorological and hydrological data and other unpublished thesis work and articles.