One of the biggest challenges facing people living in the remote Himalayan areas of Ladakh is obtaining quality water for both domestic use and sustaining crops. Here there is very little hope of finding water. Many people have drilled to 300 ft to find there is none. Even if people live close to one of the rivers, including the Indus, taking water from it can be very dangerous as often they are polluted with silica and detritus from other villages.

In the village of Wanla, at 13,000 ft, with a population of approximately 400, there is no water! The villagers have asked the Lotus Flower Trust to fund an Artificial Glacier for them. Their nearest water supply is from a glacier at 18,000 ft which is difficult to reach and too far away to transport water from there. To overcome this, villagers want to create an artificial glacier. To do this, they need to run a pipe, or as you can see in the picture, a number of pipes, from the glacier’s edge, so that when it melts later in the day, water will flow through the pipes and be deposited on a suitable nearby chasm where it freezes when the temperature drops in the evening, to create the artificial glacier.

Every night a villager sleeps in a nearby tent going out day and night to break the ice as it forms in the pipes to ensure the water flows. From late April to the end of September the artificial glacier melts and the villagers build an irrigation channel which reaches close to the village and from which they can take water for domestic use and spread to the fields. This is environmentally friendly and inexpensive way of providing water for remote villages. It has proved to be very successful and overcomes one of the major challenges facing people living high in the Himalayas, often above 13,000 ft where the temperature can drop in the winter to minus 30 degrees or below.

Because of the urgent need for fresh water, the villagers have taken out a loan to start work on the glacier. The Lotus Flower Trust would love to help them eliminate this debt which they cannot afford.