Indian scientists say carbon dioxide and other emissions will cause the melt down of glaciers feeding the Ganges River before the century's end.
They warn the glaciers could disappear even faster if climate change speeds up, the BBC reported.
The scientists are worried because the glaciers provide water to millions of people in the Himalayan region. Ganges is holy for the Hindus, who believe a dip in the river is a way to reach heaven.
Dr. R.K. Pachauri, head of a government panel, told BBC that climate change is predicted to disrupt monsoon rains. That with the glacial meltdown will leave people doubly vulnerable, he said.
Another scientist said that river flows have increased because glaciers are melting twice as fast as before.
The problem is more severe in neighboring Nepal, where glaciers have already melted into lakes. The water is trapped behind walls of debris scoured by the glacier, the report said.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International
Explore further: Asteroid named for University of Utah makes public debut