Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

10 Quail Way
San Anselmo, CA 94960
USA

(415) 377-6278

This Planet is a series of short video stories that draw on the best new videos, awesome graphics, and surprising facts about climate, energy and innovation.

Engineering A New Future

This Planet Chronicle

Engineering A New Future

Evelyn Messinger

In January 2014 students at a school in the Ladakh region of Northern India worked with engineer Sonam Wangchuk  on a project they called the Ice Stupa - you can learn about it directly from them, here:

Their aim was to find a solution to the water crisis facing Ladakhi farmers in the critical planting months of April and May before the natural glacial melt waters start flowing. In This Planet's video Desert On Ice, Sonam Wangchuk tells the story of this key innovation. Hint: no motors, not even any moving parts.

By the end of February they had successfully built a two-story prototype of an ice pyramid that could store roughly 150,000 liters of winter stream water which otherwise would have gone to waste.  They called it an Ice Stupa because the shape resembles the traditional  stupas of Ladakh and Tibet:

In early spring, the natural glaciers become smaller and smaller in size and there is much less water to irrigate crops. Then they release too much water during the hotter summers, making the glaciers even smaller. With these ice stupas the fresh snow and ice in the mountains that melt even in winter, and so are wasted, can be frozen and stored until spring, when farmers need water the most. 

With the success of the prototype, the team started planning a much bigger project, a field of ice stupa's watering an entire desert. The cost of the larger project was prohibitive, but Wangchuk and the students soon found a solution: they launched this IdieGoGo campaign to raise $119,500. Instead they have raised $125,200 - that's a lot of ice!

At their website IceStupa.Org, the new project is being chronicled, from pipes being laid in the mountains to high-tech sprinklers (that didn't work) to the new ice stupas taking shape.

..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................