Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Pakistanis Build 5 Artificial Glaciers in Gilgit-Baltistan to Freeze and Store Water

Residents and scientists in Pakistan’s northern Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), which is famed for its scenic landscapes, glaciers, and some of the world’s tallest mountains, have recently found a unique way to a severe water deficit that has hampered crop growth in the region each year.

Experts from a local institute, Baltistan University, have teamed up with locals to construct artificial glaciers, or ice stupas, which resemble Buddhist temple towers and are used to collect and freeze abundant water in the winter months for use during the dry season, especially in the months of March and April when water is in high demand for wheat, maize, and potato cultivation. Sonam Wangchuk, an engineer from Ladakh, India, devised the technique in 2013.

Dr. Zakir Hussain Zakir of Baltistan University, the focal person for the UNDP’s Glacial Lake Outburst Flood-2 (GLOF-2) monitoring project, told Arab News that while GB was one of the world’s largest glaciated regions, the bodies of ice were rapidly melting, and water shortages would be a major challenge for the region in due course.

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