Climate change however, has resulted in several of these local glaciers drying up. Chewang Norphel, a civil engineer, has pioneered the concept of creating artificial 'glaciers' that store water in the form of ice, and release it in the summer. In this TEDxDelhi 2012 talk, Mr.Norphel talks of his experience, the process of developing artificial glaciers, and the hope that these represent.
Mr. Norphel explains that more than 80% of the people in rural Ladakh are dependent on glaciers. While the region has rivers, most villages are located at high altitudes and cannot access that water. Artificial glaciers, on the other hand, are constructed close to the villages. The first such glacier was constructed in Phuket village in 1987. Since then, the idea has gained acceptance,and a limited fund is made available through the Watershed Development Programmes.
The process of implementation relies on efficient community mobilisation and participation. Suitability of the locations for these constructed glaciers depend on:
- water availability in the stream during peak winter
- presence of shady area along the course of the stream
- timing of sunrise and sunset.
This innovative, locally suitable, and cost effective means of water storage is uniquely suited to the conditions in Ladakh. It thus is a excellent example of locally- derived solutions to a global problem like climate change.
Learn more about TEDxDelhi here