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October 09, 2007
For 15 years, Chewang Norphel, a retired civil engineer of Ladakh, has been building "artificial glaciers" to make life a little easier for the hard working but poverty-stricken farmers of Ladakh. He uses a network of pipes to capture and channel precious
snowmelt that would otherwise be wasted. First, water from an existing stream is diverted through iron pipes to a shady area of the valley. From there, the water flows out to a sloping hill at regular intervals along the mountain slope. Small stone embsnkments
impede the flow of water, creating shallow pools. During the winter, as temperatures drop, the water in these pools freezes. Once this cycle has been repeated over many weeks, a thick sheet of ice forms, resembling a glacier.
Norphel says an artificial glacier scores over a natural one in many ways. " It is closer to the village and at a comparatively lower altitude. "
Norphel can be contacted at Tel: 01982-252151