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The Water Well

Kumik, the Himalayan village in the Zanskar Valley on the forefront of climate change in a Himalayan winter

In 2016, I travelled to the village of Kumik to document their water crisis - first told in The Waterless Village. In 2020, I travelled back to Kumik during a bone-chilling Himalayan winter with water, once again the primary cause for concern.


Without Kumik's glacier to provide them water during summer the village is left with a handful of underground springs for water. However, during winter, water is even more scarce - only one underground spring remains unfrozen on the top of the mountainside high above the village. 


Each day becomes a struggle to access, transport, and store water. Everything is done by hand - even during the fiercest of blizzards. With relocation no longer a viable option, very few villagers have chosen to move to the new settlement of Lower Kumik. Instead, they have chosen to dig in their heels and see what the uncertain future brings them. 


Survival and life in the Himalayas are fast becoming a battleground between small communities like Kumik and climate change's vast impacts.

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Ashley Crowther is an Asia based documentary photographer and photojournalist and is one of the foremost storytellers documenting climate change through photography. | @ashleycrowtherorg

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