Chewang Norphel, a 79-year old retired civil engineer, has always been a solution provider, Born in 1936, Norphel comes from a farming background and has served in the government service for more than 36 years before he had to take an early retirement due to his bad health. Being at home was not something Norphel enjoyed doing, and at the same time, the poor living conditions in Ladakh constantly troubled him.
He thought of putting his engineering skills to a better use. The idea first came to him when he saw water dripping from a tap which was kept open so as to avoid the water from freezing in winter and bursting the tap. The water gradually froze into the shape of an ice sheet as it came in touch with the ground and made a pool. It was now time for action, and he put all his engineering knowledge, field experience and passion to work. He started his first experiment in Phutse village. He made canals to divert the water from the main stream to small catchment areas located four kms away from the village.
He also created a shaded area to keep the water frozen in winters. And, as these glaciers are located at a lower altitude of 13,000 feet as compared to the original glaciers which are located at 18,000 feet, they start melting earlier than the mainstream ones and provide water to the villagers when they need it the most in April.