Chewang Norphel

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Chewang Norphel
Chewang Norphel in 2009.jpg
Norphel in 2009
Born 1935
Occupation Engineer
Engineering career
Discipline Civil Engineering
Employer(s) Jammu and Kashmir rural development department
Significant design Water catchment; Artificial glacier
Awards Padma Shri(2015)

Chewang Norphel[needs IPA] (born 1935) is an Indian civil engineer from Ladakh, who has built 15 artificial glaciers.[1] He has earned the nickname Ice Man.[2]

Early life and career

Coming from a middle-class family of Leh, Norphel went to Amar Singh College in Srinagar as a student of science. He completed a diploma course in civil engineering from Lucknow in 1960. In June 1960, he joined the rural development department of Jammu and Kashmir in Ladakh as a civil engineer. He retired in 1995.

Artificial glaciers

In 1996, Norphel joined the Leh Nutrition Project, a non-governmental organisation, as project manager for watershed development.[3][4]

Norphel noticed a small stream had frozen solid under the shade of a group of poplar trees, though it flowed freely elsewhere in his yard. He realized the reason for this phenomenon: the flowing water was moving too quickly to freeze, while the sluggish trickle of water beneath the trees was slow enough to freeze. Based on this, he created artificial glaciers by diverting a river into a valley, slowing the stream by constructing checks. The artificial glaciers increase the ground-water recharge, rejuvenating the spring and providing water for irrigation. He constructed them at lower elevations, so that they melt earlier, expanding the growing season.[5]

By 2012, Norphel had built 12 artificial glaciers. Norphel's largest glacier is the one at the Phuktsey village.[6] It is 1,000 ft long, 150 ft wide and 4 ft in depth. It can supply water for the entire village of 700 people and cost Rs 90,000 to make.[7]

Documentary film-maker Aarti Shrivastava also directed a short film on his life titled White Knight, which was screened at film festivals in India and abroad.

Awards

He is a recipient of the Jamnalal Bajaj Award in 2010.[8] He was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award of India, in 2015.[9]

References

  1. ^ Nelson, Dean (28 October 2009). "Indian engineer 'builds' new glaciers to stop global warming". The Telegraph.
  2. ^ Shrager, Heidi (25 February 2008). "'Ice Man' vs. Global Warming". Time Magazine.
  3. ^ "Water harvesters". Centre for Science and Environment.
  4. ^ "Real Heros". 2008. IBN Live. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  5. ^ Buncombe, Andrew (22 January 2010). "Creating glaciers out of thin air". Telegraph. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  6. ^ Bagla, Pallava (4 September 2001). ""Artificial Glaciers" Aid Farmers in Himalayas". National GeographicNews.
  7. ^ "The ice-man of Ladakh brings hope to farmers". Ecosensorium. 8 November 2009.
  8. ^ "Jamnalal Bajaj Award". Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation. 2015. Retrieved 13 October 2015. [permanent dead link]
  9. ^ "Padma Awards 2015". Press Information Bureau. Archived from the original on 28 January 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2015.

External links

  • "Chewang Norphel - Artificial Glaciers". TEDxDelhi. 27 October 2010.
  • Sharma, Samarpita Mukherjee. "CHEWANG NORPHEL : THE ICE MAN OF LADAKH". Youth Leader. Archived from the original on 2013-03-19.
  • Pareek, Shreya (6 November 2014). "The Man Who Creates Artificial Glaciers To Meet The Water Needs Of Ladakh". The Better India. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
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