Initiative Background

The Indus River

The HKH region extends 3,500 km over all or part of eight countries, from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east. It is the source of 10 large Asian river systems, including the Indus. The HKH provide water and other ecosystem services, and are the basis of the livelihoods of 236.9 million people in the region. Improved water resource management in mountain areas is essential for the sustainable development of the region and downstream countries.
More about the Indus river:
  • Originates at Lake Ngangla Ring Tsho in the Tibetan Plateau
  • Supports about 268.42 million people
  • Is the main source of water for agriculture, energy production, industrial use, and human consumption
  • Is densely populated (257 people/km²) and has an approximate water availability of 1,329 m3 per head (2011) 
  • Irrigates 33 million hectares of agricultural land in the basin through 15 tributaries 
    • The Ravi, Beas, and Sutlej rivers in India
    • The Swat, Chitral, Gilgit, Hunza, Shigar, Shyok, Indus, Shingo, Astor, Jhelum, and Chenab rivers in Pakistan 
    • Kabul River in Afghanistan
  • Has an estimated hydropower potential of 100,000 MW, of which around 18% has been developed.