HPL confronts climate change realities at Tsho Rolpa Lake News | April 19, 2013

A team of Himal Power Limited (HPL) managers, along with representatives from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and Tribhuvan University, recently visited the TshoRolpa Glacial Lake in Dolakha district – one of the biggest and potentially most dangerous glacial lakes in Nepal. The lake, which is located at an altitude of 4,580 meters in Rolwaling Valley, has grown considerably over the last 50 years due to glacial melting in the Himalayas – a process that has been accelerated by global warming. The lake threatens to burst through its unstable dam which would threaten the lives, livestock and agricultural land of over 6,000 villagers living around the Rolwaling Valley and Tamakoshi River. For HPL, the immediate concern is the safety of areas adjacent to Kirne village and the Khimti I hydropower assets.

The field trip was organized in collaboration with representatives of UNDP with their Glacier Lake Outburst Flood (GLOF) disaster relief program, and Tribhuvan University, which has an ongoing PhD program in environmental law. The team of 10 participants ascended more than 3,000 meters in just four days and experienced what for many was seen as conditions that are extreme and unfamiliar, such as 10-12 hour daily walks, trekking in heavy snowfall, sleeping at above 4,000 meter altitude, and dealing with the final ascent to Tsho Rolpa Lake.

General Manager Tom Kristian Larsen said he was impressed that all participants successfully accomplished the objective of the trip and that nobody suffered from altitude sickness or other health issues. The trip also provided an important learning experience from the development projects observed along the route, andserved as a pilot drill on how health and safety procedures work under difficult conditions in the field.