A new study examining the impact of shrinking snowpacks on the 2 billion people that inhabitate the northern hemisphere area suggests that they could face severe water scarcity.
The researchers say that the reduction in the seasonal accumulation of snow could severely impact the supply of water in regions from California's farmlands to war-torn areas of the Middle East by 2060, Reuters reported.
In addition, more than 100 water basins that are dependent on the snow deposits across the northern hemisphere are at the risk of running dry. Justin Mankin, the study's lead author from Columbia University's Earth Institute in New York said that water managers across several locations need to start preparing for a situation where ice reservoirs cease to exist.
The study further showed that the Shatt al-Arab basin in the Middle East that spans across Syria and Iraq, the basins in central and northern California and the Ebro-Duero basin spread across France, Portugal and Spain include the areas that are likely to be affected by the diminishing snowpacks. The melting snow acts as a natural source of water in these regions.
During the study, the researchers concluded that such basins are at an overall 67 percent risk of getting affected by water scarcity by 2060. The researchers further say that some areas are likely to be worse hit than the other over the next few years.
The researchers conducted the study considering that the water demand would remain constant, a factor which is highly unlikely. The trending increase in the human population and migration is expected to increase the water demands in the coming decades.
The complete details of the study have been published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.