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Ice Stupa Project

By Col
17, Aug, 2019

Creating life supporting artificial glaciers for local Himalayan communities

With Himalayan glaciers receding it’s creating a massive problem for the locals and villages that are facing acute water shortages. Glacial melt water is crucial for settlements that rely on this water at particular times for crop irrigation. But the water situation has become a lot more unpredictable and erratic. The answer, artificial glaciers, or Ice Stupas.  Storing the water that would ordinarily flow into the Indus river over winter.   

The Ice Stupa project is working with villages to freeze and hold the water that keeps flowing and wasting away down the streams and into the rivers throughout the winter. Instead, this ice will melt in the springtime, just when the fields need watering.

Well the Alpkit Foundation was approached by Ellie who had been invited to volunteer in Ladakh, northern India by the Ice Stupa Project to help more villages adopt this technology. But she needed just a little bit of help to make it happen.

Ellie filled us in on the situation.

“I wrote my dissertation on Artificial Glaciers in the Indian Himalayas and how they can be used to help local people and villages adapt to the climate change induced water scarcity and maintain their agricultural habits.

This year is planned to be the biggest year of ice stupa formation with up to 19-20 villages expected to participate. The ice stupas allow their agricultural patterns and traditions to continue allow for the cultivation of more land and growth of cash crops which provide additional revenue and help reduce water disputes within the village”

Birth of a Ice Stupa. 

Well the Ice Stupa Project runs in association with the Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) which is an NGO aiming to involve Ladakhi youth pursue practical environmental social and traditional knowledge values and skills. Therefore the growth of the Ice Stupa Project will allow more of the local young people to be involved in this unique project.

Being a region that is such a draw to so many people from around the world wanting to experience and enjoy these beautiful mountains, then it’s important for us to help support those living there and facing such life effecting problems.  This is an important project having a real direct impact, so we’re really excited to hear how Ellie gets on and to find out more about the effect that this project is having on the local communities.

Photos from the Ice Stupa Project

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