≡ Menu

DIY Glaciers: a Low-Cost Alternative to Dams

DIY glaciers“A remote Indian village is responding to global warming-induced water shortages by creating large masses of ice to get through the dry spring months. People in Skara and surrounding villages survive by growing crops such
as barley for their own consumption and for sale in neighboring towns.
In the past, water for the crops came from meltwater originating in
glaciers high in the Himalaya. But in recent decades, climate change has uncoupled glacial melt cycles
in the Tibetan Plateau from the traditional
agricultural season, causing water shortages in April and May when
Ladakhis typically begin sowing seeds for the summer season.”

“One winter in the late 1980s, an engineer from Skara
named Chewang Norphel came up with a possible solution to his village’s
problem while strolling around his backyard. Norphel
noticed that a small stream had frozen solid under the shade of a poplar
grove, though it flowed freely elsewhere in his sunny yard. The reason
for this, he realized, was that the flowing water was moving too quickly
to freeze, while the sluggish trickle of water beneath the grove was
not. Over the next several years, Norphel worked to
create an irrigation system that functioned using the same simple
natural principle. The result has been Ladakh’s artificial glaciers. Ten
have been built to date.”

Read more: Artificial Glaciers Water Crops in Indian Highlands.