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Artificial lowering of glacial lakes

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Global warming is resulting in the world’s glaciers melting at a rapid rate, filling glacial lakes and increasing the likelihood of outburst floods (glacial lake outburst floods or GLOFs). Floods and mudslides caused by GLOFs can have devastating impacts on communities lying below the lakes, posing a threat to both lives and infrastructure.

The artificial lowering of glacial lakes is the process of draining water from those vulnerable to overflowing by digging a canal from the lake to a nearby river. Drainage reduces water level and decreases pressure on moraine dams. This in turn reduces the risk of burst events, which are increasingly likely as glaciers continue to melt.

Part of: Climate change adaptation technologies for water: a practitioner’s guide to adaptation technologies for increased water sector resilience