ISLAMABAD  -   Supra-Glacial Lake formed at the Shisper Glacier has started receding with a water discharge of 200 cusecs to 220 cusecs per day below the surging glacier which ruled out risk of glacial flooding.

“The water discharging is most probably of the glacial lake formed at the Shisper Glacier rolling since May 2018. It is routine flow of water which usually pours in summer season at 400 cusecs,” an official of Gilgit Baltistan Disaster Management Authority (GBDMA) said.

The last satellite images received by Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) show the glacial lake at Shisper Glacier to be contracting which had mitigated the disaster risk, he added.

There might be two reasons for plummeting size of the glacier: mainly under surface discharge of water and the upward movement alongwith the penetration of the glacier into lake which consequently got submerged into the glacier, the official said.

“We have requested the PMD to share latest satellite images of Shisper Glacier to ascertain the prevailing situation.

However, correspondence with Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) is also going on for isotopic analysis of the lake,” GBDMA official added.

The isotopic analysis would help determine the source of water discharging beneath the glacier as at present it was not for sure either the water rolling down was glacial lake or the glacier’s melting water.

“The isotopic analysis (IA) is based upon the use of mass spectrometers or radioactive radiation counters. A mass spectrometer is a device that determines the quantity and composition of different isotopes (of the same chemical element as well as various elements) in the sample. The dye will be thrown from the upper part of the glacier which if reached at the bottom will ensure the water discharge of glacial lake and vice versa.

We have delayed the IA as it is a lengthy and hectic process for which we might require a helicopter to take the PAEC team at the top of the glacier which is not feasible owing to the challenging location,” he stated.

The PAEC would start IA within a week or next 10 days, adding: “The PMD satellite images and available data is sufficient for monitoring the situation while we are considering the isotopic study out of preventive  measures to further get the facts more accurate and credible.”

To a question, the Authority Official said that “there is no need for displacing the local community of Hassanabad Village and its vicinity as there was no glacial lake outburst or flooding risk where the water flow is normal.”

The glacier, the official said was surging at 3 meters to 5 meters per day as it was gradually moving so in case of any emergent situation we would have ample response time and we could easily identify danger zones and fault lines in time to mobilise resources for disaster management.

“Hassanabad, Murtazabad and Aliabad villages will primarily face problem due to glacier surge as the major loss to be bore during the disaster will be water supply loss.

A budget of Rs 40 million to Rs 50 million has been provided to the district authorities of Hunza to work out alternate for water supply to the vulnerable villages,” he said.