Glacial Lake Atlas Helps in Better Planning of Himalayan Water Bodies

Glacial Lake Atlas Helps in Better Planning of Himalayan Water Bodies

Aimed at carrying out climate change impact analysis and disaster mitigation planning in water bodies in the Himalayan region over time, India released the glacial lake atlas of the Ganga river basin.

The glacial lake atlas, released by the Ministry of Water  Resources, is based on the inventoried glacial lakes in part of Ganga River basin from its origin to foothills of Himalayas covering a catchment area of 2,47,109 sq. km. The study portion of Ganga River basin covers part of India and transboundary region. The Atlas is available on Bhuvan portal of NRSC, ISRO (, India WRIS Portal and NHP web site of DoWR, RD & GR.


A total of 4,707 glacial lakes have been mapped in the Ganga River basin with a total lake water spread area of 20,685 ha.  Glacial lakes with water spread area greater than 0.25 ha have been mapped using Resourcesat-2 (RS-2) Linear Imaging Self Scanning Sensor-IV (LISS-IV) satellite data using visual interpretation techniques. Based on its process of lake formation, location, and type of damming material, glacial lakes are identified in nine different types, majorly grouped into four categories.

The Glacial Atlas is a step towards facilitating acquisition of reliable information and putting the same in public domain which would pave the way for an effective water resource development and management.

  • The atlas provides a comprehensive and systematic glacial lake database for Ganga River basin with size > 0.25 ha
  • In the context of climate change impact analysis, the atlas can be used as reference data for carrying out change analysis, both with respect to historical and future time periods
  • The atlas also provides authentic database for regular or periodic monitoring changes in spatial extent (expansion/shrinkage), and formation of new lakes
  • The atlas can also be used in conjunction with glacier information for their retreat and climate impact studies.
  • The information on glacial lakes like their type, hydrological, topographical, and associated glaciers are useful in identifying the potential critical glacial lakes and consequent GLOF risk.
  • Central and State Disaster Management Authorities can make use of the atlas for disaster mitigation planning and related program.




Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here