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Changemakers of India - Sonam Wangchuk


Image Courtesy: Guernica Magazine

Sonam Wangchuk, a 50-year-old mechanical engineer from Ladakh, who inspired the character in 3 Idiots movie Phunsukh Wangdu.

Wangchuk found out there is a lack of irrigation facilities for farmers in the Himalayan highlands of Ladakh to overcome water shortages by tapping meltwaters to build artificial glaciers. So, Mr.Wangchuk builds Ice stupas that are coined by himself to facilitate irrigation in the desert areas of the western Himalayas. These scintillating pieces of creativity are conical ice molds that act like mini-glaciers and slowly they release water for agriculture whenever it is necessary.

He is also known for designing the Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL)SECMOL campus that runs on solar energy and uses no fossil fuels for cooking, lighting or heating.

The artificial glaciers are about freezing the water that goes unused in water in cones of ice because of this dramatic change it won't melt until late spring may June that's the time when people are dying for every drop of water. Imagine a bucket is a source of water. So, we take a pipe up slow put it stream or lake and vary it if 6 feet under the ground and pipe takes water downslope to the village and because of the gravity pressure builds up in the pipe then water comes out gushing when sprinkling water when it mixes with -20 air it falls down it freezes over weeks it becomes huge mountain of ice. We started piloting the ice stupa in real-life application, people of the village came and volunteered to plant 5000 trees which were supported in lean months from the moisture of ice stupas and that is the proof of the concept. Which will have 50 or so large ice stupas which will then feed trees that we plant. we must go beyond solving it turning into an opportunity to green deserts which were never green by our existence. So, using the land by one such solution to establish an institute that researchers systematically, scientifically that mountain people face now. So, Ladakhi's are frontier to face climate change. We have to be resilient, clever enough, innovative to adapt to these changes and so younger generations can flourish in these mountains. says Sonam Wangchuk.



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