The lake in the Everest region was in danger of flooding villages, bridges and trekking trails downstream.
Local monks perform religious rituals during the completion ceremony of the much-awaited project to drain Imja Lake on November 23, 2016. Credit: Nabin Baral/Third Pole
The Nepal government announced that it had finished draining the glacial lake Imja Tsho in the Everest region on November 23.
The Imja Lake was in danger of flooding villages, bridges and trekking trails downstream.
Imja is one of the biggest glacial lakes in the Everest region of Nepal Himalayas at 5,010 meters above sea level. Since 1960, the small lake has increased to 1.28 square kilometres and 150 metres deep. Credit: Nabin Baral/Third Pole
Imja Lake is one of the six highly dangerous glacial lakes in Nepal.
It took more than six months for about 150 people including 40 military personnel and local Sherpas to construct an outlet and release almost four million cubic metres of water. The water level of lake – originally 149 metres deep – fell by 3.4 metres.
The outlet channel built by the Nepal Army in Imja glacial lake. Credit: Nabin Baral/Third Pole
Nepal has thousands of glacial lakes. Many of these are filling up fast because of warming temperatures and melting glaciers.
Glacial lakes have burst their banks 24 times in Nepal since the 1960s, three of which were in the Dhud Koshi river basin in the Everest region.
The Nepal government set up flood risk reduction project, supported by the Global Environment Facility and the United Nations Development Programme. Early warning systems have been installed in six settlements on the Everest trekking trails to send flood warnings to people downstream.
Nang Thume Sherpa, a member of glacier lake task force, shows the early warning system installed in Fakding Village, Solukhumbu. The early warning system will send automated messages from a sensor installed in Imja Lake. Credit: Nabin Baral/Third Pole
Tourists have suggested the government shift trails on the Everest to higher places so trekkers and porters climbing the mountain are safe from potential glacial lake floods.
Namche Bazaar, the gateway to Everest, Solukhumbu district, Nepal. Credit: Nabin Baral/Third Pole
Ajit Rai and his wife Ranjita Rai work as labourers in Dengboche Village between Imja Glacier and Everest Base Camp. “Last year a small flash flood triggered from Lotse glacier mixed with Imja Lake. Although it only destroyed one bridge near Dengboche, it has made me think more about the safety of my family,” said Ajit. Credit: Nabin Baral/Third Pole
Kalma Lama, from Lukla town, runs a shop in Dengboche. She is happy that the lake has been drained. She has already experienced a small glacial lake outburst flood from Lotse glacier lake last summer. “Although there was no loss from the flood, the Imja river is terrifying,” she said. Credit: Nabin Baral/Third Pole
School children cross a suspension bridge over the Dhud Koshi river near Fakding village where the early warning system is installed. Credit: Nabin Baral/Third Pole
Smoke emitted from a hotel in Debuche as the sun sets over Mount Everest. Recent studies show that black carbon from such smoke is causing faster retreat of the glaciers in the Himalaya region. Credit: Nabin Baral/Third Pole
A night view of Imja river valley from Chukum, Solukhumbu district, Nepal. Credit: Nabin Baral/Third Pole
This article was originally published on The Third Pole. Read the original article.