Artificial Ice Stupas: An alternative to water scarcity in Ladakh

An artificial Ice Stupa made in Leh to conserve water. -Excelsior/ Morup Stanzin
An artificial Ice Stupa made in Leh to conserve water. -Excelsior/ Morup Stanzin

Excelsior Correspondent
LEH, (LADAKH) Feb 23:  An innovative manmade artificial Ice Stupa created to conserve winter waste water as an alternate to counter the water scarcity during Spring is now centre of attraction for thousands of tourists including locals.

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The natural glacier formed out of Winter snowfall on higher reaches of mountain serves as main source of water supply in Ladakh region to farmers. However, the global warming resulted in shrinking of natural glaciers thus farmers in Ladakh are facing acute shortage of water for irrigation especially during Spring time. So manmade artificial Ice Stupas is created in such a way that Winter waste water is allowed to fall on cone shape like structure a net from certain height and as the water started freezing  on the net, more water is added to increase the size of cone making it look like a Buddhist Stupas.
Enough height is maintained between the source of water and artificial Stupas which help to develop enough pressure to sprinkle water from certain height on the Stupa.  Thus Winter waste water is stored in the shape of Ice Stupas which melts slowly during spring time  providing an alternate source of water supply during that season when natural glaciers don’t melt properly at a point of time in that season.
Surprisingly no machines, motors, electricity or fuel is used in the process and it is totally an environment friendly process.  The excess melt water from artificial Ice Stupa is stored in a tank constructed below the Stupa and about 5000 trees planted near the Ice Stupa on a barren land that gets water from Ice Stupas.
One of volunteer Sonam Dorjay 24, from Wakha village working on Ice Stupa said that he had been working on the Ice Stupa for the past four years and it serves as an alternate source of water in Spring time. He added that concept of Ice Stupa is based on the idea of Chhewang Norphel who made Artificial glaciers in Nang village about 20 years ago and after that he is known as Iceman of Ladakh.
On the basis of that idea Rolex Awardees Sonam Wangchuk made number of Ice Stupas in Phyang village which are now not only serving as alternate source of water supply for farmers but also great attraction to tourist as well as locals.