An ice stupa is an artificial glacier that stores waste stream waters so that the water can be used at a later date when supplies are scarce. It is used as a solution to the water crisis faced by local farmers in Kashmir in northern India. Sonam Wangchuk, an engineer from Ladakh, developed and tested the first ice stupas with his students from the alternative school SECMOL (Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh).
The conical tower shape ensures that the surface exposed to the sun is minimal, so premature melting is avoided. The idea is simple – it needs no pumps or power and uses the otherwise wasteful streamflow water. The stupas also make for elegant, ethereal imagery, as this series by Greg White proves.