In an effort to help understand and react to the rapid changes taking place in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region, also known as "Asia's water tower," Internews' Earth Journalism Network (EJN) and its partner The Third Pole created an open-source geospatial database with support from the Skoll Global Threats Fund. Located at data.thethirdpole.net, this compendium of scientific data on water issues is sourced from leading organizations monitoring water in Asia.
The region's river systems are interrelated and cross numerous national boundaries. And because many countries are already suffering serious water stress, planned infrastructure projects, including dams, are raising both regional and cross-border tensions and may have severe environmental impacts. People in the Himalayan watersheds also face higher risks from flooding, water shortages and pollution. Future population growth, climatic variation and increasing demands on scarce water resources from agriculture and industry are increasing these risks.
All data hosted on the site is available for download in multiple formats and sourced from a network of data providers. Partnership agreements have been signed with 10 organizations including regional centers like the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). Global organizations like International Rivers and the World Resources Institute (WRI) are also actively engaged in providing data to the public using data.thethirdpole.net. With data sharing agreements in place, EJN and thethirdpole.net fully expect this database to expand in size over time.