Ladakh Water Crisis

Wall Street Journal

The Ladakh region of northern India is one of the world’s highest, driest inhabited places. For centuries, meltwater from winter snows & glaciers in the Himalayan mountains sustained the tiny villages dotting this remote land. Now like many other places in India, parts of Ladakh are running short of water. Population growth, modernization and climate change are spawning a resource crisis. Tourism is sending the summer populations soaring, and the regions traditional system of conserving water is breaking down under increased demand. The municipal government has commisioned the creation of ‘ice stupas’ that harvest water from man-made glacial pyramids, that melt slower during the dry summer months, and provides water for this altitudinal desert community. This photo essay was commissioned by the Wall Street Journal to document the Leh water infastructure as it adapts to its increased demand from industry, agriculture and construction.