Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

Natural Water Towers


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Water Towers System

Mains level : Various initiatives for water conservation

The Indus River and its tributaries, which flow through parts of China, India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, are among the most vulnerable ‘water towers’ in the world, National Geographic has revealed.

Water Towers System

  • Mountains provide lowlands with essential freshwater for irrigation and food production, for industrial use, and for the domestic needs of rapidly growing urban populations.
  • Hence they are often referred to as natural “water towers”.
  • They are highly sensitive and prone to climate change yet their importance and vulnerability have not been quantified at the global scale.
  • Besides the Indus, other highly vulnerable water towers in Asia include the Tarim, Amu Darya and Syr Darya in Central Asia and the Ganges-Brahmaputra in South Asia.

Five most relied-upon, natural water tower systems in those regions:

  • Asia: Indus, Tarim, Amu Darya, Syr Darya, Ganges-Brahmaputra
  • Europe: Rhône, Po, Rhine, Black Sea North Coast, Caspian Sea Coast
  • North America: Fraser, Columbia and Northwest United States, Pacific and Arctic Coast, Saskatchewan-Nelson, North America-Colorado
  • South America: South Chile, South Argentina, Negro, La Puna region, North Chile


  • Asia’s Indus basin – fed by the Himalayan, Karakoram, Hindu-Kush, and Ladakh ranges – to be the most important storage unit on the planet.
  • Its waters, produced at high elevation from rain and snow, and draining from lakes and glaciers, support more than 200 million people settled across parts of Afghanistan, China, India and Pakistan.


Drainage System | Part 3

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