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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
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Man-made glaciers

Sometimes, individuals find solutions to their problems through joint efforts at community level instead of relying on the government to work out a solution to ease their difficulties at a far off place. One such instance was found in one of the terrains of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), where locals have erected man-made glaciers in Skardu and Kharmang district using a simple technique of conserving excess water at one place, which takes the shape of ice-stupas due to cold weather in that area during the months of December, January and February. Long water pipes are used to pump water from nearby streams or water sources to a suitable place where ice stupas are built. In this way, thousands of gallons of water is conserved providing communities with a freshwater source during dry seasons. In fact, the idea was inspired by a similar initiative in India’s Ladakh Valley, where locals have adopted this technique to meet their water needs during the dry seasons.

GB locals face difficulties in cultivation of crops and meeting other water needs during the months of March and April when there is scarcity of rain and water becomes high in demand for wheat, maize and potato cultivation. GB is one of the largest glaciated regions in the world, the bodies of ice are rapidly melting and water shortages will be a major challenge for the region in due course of time. The use of such novel ideas is favourable and can help ease water crisis in the area.

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There can be more such solutions to the problems faced by various communities across the country. The government needs to encourage such initiative and launch an awareness campaign urging others to follow the technique, where it can be applicable. There is also a lesson that unity even at the community level can overcome many challenges that seem an uphill task at the individual level.


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