Ice Stupas In Leh/Ladakh

The Ice Stupa Project Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL)

Ladakh is a trans-Himalayan cold mountain desert that faces harsh winters with a temperature of as low as -30° C. The region sees an average annual rain/snow fall of only 100 mm, thereby, making water a scarce and sought-after resource during the summers. Especially, in April and May when villagers need to water their newly sown plants.

To resolve this water and livelihood problem the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in partnership with the Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) has initiated a two-year action research project with an aim to build Ice Stupas in 50 villages and thereby resolve the drinking water and water irrigation crisis.

Ice Stupas are dome shaped structure created by freezing the underutilised water during the winter months. These ice domes storing huge amount of water that melts during the summer feeding the farms and the villagers when water is most needed.

Last year 26 ice stupas were built by villagers and on an average 3 lakh liters of water was stored in each such stupa. Through this project, anticipating villagers were able to conserve about 75 lakh litres of water during winters and eco-tourism activities like "1st Ladakh Ice Climbing Festival" gave opportunity to the local youth to be indulged in eco-entrepreneurial ventures.

This initiative will help in rehabilitation of abandoned villages and can change the economy of the village by solving water problems for plantation of trees and irrigation and also create livelihood opportunities through tourism.