Chewang Norphel, an Indian civil engineer from Ladakh is famously known as the ‘Iceman of India’ for his contribution to water conservation as he has built more than 15 artificial glaciers to provide a source of water during the dry season in the region.
• The artificial glacier is made by diverting a river into a valley, slowing the stream by constructing checks. The artificial glaciers increase the ground-water recharge, rejuvenating the spring and providing water for irrigation.
- These are constructed at lower elevations, so that they melt earlier, expanding the growing season.
- He was recognized for his achievements by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2011.
- It is a form of glacier grafting technique that creates artificial glaciers, used for storing winter water (which otherwise would go unused) in the form of conical shaped ice heaps.
- During summer, when water is scarce, the Ice Stupa melts to increase water supply for crops.
- Ice Stupa was invented by Sonam Wangchuk in Ladakh (India) and the project is undertaken by the NGO Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh.
COMMUNITY-BASED WATER CONSERVATION
Rajendra Singh is a well-known water conservationist from the Alwar district, Rajasthan in India.
Also known as “waterman of India”, he won the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership in 2001 for his pioneering work in community-based efforts in water harvesting and water management.
He has helped villagers take charge of water management in their semi-arid area as it lies close to the Thar Desert, through the use of jihad, rainwater storage tanks, check dams and other time-tested as well as pathbreaking techniques.