Life in Ladakh has always been tough. Braving the dry and harsh weather, 80 percent of Ladakh population depends on farming which requires adequate water. Being a rain deficient area, Ladakh receives an average 50mm of rainfall each year, thus making people dependent on the glacier water which melts during the month of June. The problem is the farmers face extreme water shortage during the crucial sowing season between March and May, from this source
Some of the adjoining villages traditionally followed a system wherein the first village which falls in the line of the streams flowing down from the mountain, would irrigate all its fields. After which they would release the remaining water to the other village which is at a lower altitude. As a result, the down height villages would face water shortage and took to drip irrigation.
Introducing Ice Stupas in Ladakh
During the extreme winters, titanic shelves of the ice form at high altitudes mountains and melt throughout the spring, flowing downwards into the streams that are the only source of civilisation on the mountain. Lately, the cycle has sadly faltered.
"The only reason people can live in Ladakh is the glaciers. Ladakh livelihood majorly depends on farming and the water shortage is only adding to the woes" Wangchuk says
Addressing the increasing need of water shortage in Ladakh, Sonam Wangchuk introduced artificial Ice Stupas - a cone shaped structure to store water which has resembleance to buddhist stupas, much to the liking of the locals