Western Himalaya is a strategically important region, where the water resources are shared by China, India and Pakistan. The economy of the region is largely dependent on the water resources delivered by snow and glacier melt. The presented study used stable isotopes of water to further understand the basin-scale hydro-meteorological, hydrological and recharge processes in three high-altitude mountainous basins of the western Himalayas. The study provided new insights in understanding the dominant factors affecting the isotopic composition of the precipitation, snowpack, glacier melt, streams and springs. It was observed that elevation-dependent post-depositional processes and snowpack evolution resulted in the higher isotopic altitude gradient in snowpacks. The similar temporal trends of isotopic signals in rivers and karst springs reflect the rapid flow transfer due to karstification of the carbonate aquifers. The attenuation of the extreme isotopic input signal in karst springs appears to be due to the mixing of source waters with the underground karst reservoirs. Basin-wise, the input–output response demonstrates the vital role of winter precipitation in maintaining the perennial flow in streams and karst springs in the region. Isotopic data were also used to estimate the mean recharge altitude of the springs.
|Translated title of the contribution||Hydrological processes in glacierized high-altitude basins of the western Himalayas|
|Number of pages||14|
|State||Published - Mar 1 2018|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Acknowledgements The research work was funded by Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, under the research project DST No: SERB/F/1554/2012. The authors wish to thank the scientists and other staff at Physical Research Laboratory Ahmedabad for analysing the samples for δ18O and δ2H.
© 2017, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany.
- Groundwater recharge
- Snow/ice melt
- Stable isotopes
- Western Himalayas
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Water Science and Technology
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)