Water is a major global issue with social, economic, political and ecological dimensions, particularly in Asia. High-altitude wetlands, lakes, and watersheds are rapidly degrading. Protecting water sources is the most effective and economic way of addressing this major water crisis. All the major rivers in the Hindu Kush–Himalayan countries—the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Yangtze, Mekong, Amu Darya, and Hilmand—originate in high-altitude lakes and wetlands. WWF International is working to conserve high-altitude Himalayan wetlands and lakes, ie to protect the ecosystems that directly benefit people living in this harsh but spectacular region as well as the millions of people who depend on freshwater downstream. The impact of climate change makes it even more urgent to initiate an integrated approach to protect and conserve these highly fragile ecosystems.