Kumik, Zanskar Valley, India - As long as Kumik's history dates back they have had a sustainable source of water. The carving glacier behind the village. More recently, due to climate change, the glacier has completely melted. Kumik is now reliant on a spring that recharges by winter snowmelt, also in decline. The community, lacking a sustainable water supply, face ongoing drought conditions and dwindling crop harvests that affect not only food, but incomes, and the well-being of the livestock. So far, some community members began an independent relocation to the valley floor, closer to a reliable water supply, the Zanskar River. A new canal, bringing water up to the new village, 'Lower Kumik' was built at great cost. Initially successful, the canal enabled them to grow crops without the water worries. Concern followed shortly after the celebration. A glacial lake outburst upriver destroyed the canal. Unable to afford to build another canal or relocate again, the new community resembles the old in their continued struggle for water.
"No water, no life." - Tashi Stobdan, a resident of Kumik.
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Wheat fields with the village of Kumik in the background during summer.
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The single canal that brings water down to the village from the spring that is recharged by snowmelt. The remnants of the melted glacier are left on the very top of the mountain.
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Empty water storage pool during the peak crop growing season of summer. Since the glacier is no longer a source of water, the small spring cannot keep up with demand.
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Young Nepali migrant workers hired to help tend to the farmland over the summer due to a shortage of young people in the village. Most young people of Kumik are studying in large Indian cities such as New Delhi and Jammu.
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Young girls fill up jerry cans with water for household use. The water flow is from the same spring that supplies water for crops.
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A young girl carries jerry cans full of water back to her home in the main part of Kumik where around 300 people live.
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Tashi Stobdan and a hired Nepali migrant worker carry the leftovers of the crop harvest. The fodder is used as food for Kumik's livestock over the winter period.
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Tashi Stobdan rests on the roof of his home after carrying load after load of livestock fodder for storage.
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Community members are continuing to build new homes even in the face of near-constant drought conditions. Kumik's retreated glacier can be seen in the background with all but a bit of ice left on the mountaintop.
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Heavily subsidised food is imported into the Kumik and stored for the winter. The imports, which are increasing, are due to a lack of water access in order to grow their own food.
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Tsewang Zangmo stands on her roof amongst harvested fodder crops for the livestock.
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Two young girls of Kumik pose for a portrait. The younger generations of Kumik face an unknown future.
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A man attends to his drying fodder crops with the Zanskar range in the background, also facing rapid glacier retreat.
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Tashi Stobdan, Tsewang Zangmo, and two Nepali migrant workers rest indoors on a hot day in Kumik.
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Water is not only in scarcity for crops but also normal household activities such as cooking.
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Livestock being herded home from the high grazing grounds of summer.
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Watching the livestock come back into Kumik late in the afternoon.
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Kumik's women, who are in charge of looking after the cows during the summer, herd them up to the high summer grazing grounds. This is directly below the retreated glacier.
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Tsewang Zangmo ponders in her home after a day's work in the fields.
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The source of the spring above the village. This dam was built to try capture more, but there was little water, to begin with.
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Tsewang Zangmo washes and cooks in her home kitchen with water coming up in the tiniest of trickles.
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Plot information for the planned relocation to the valley floor close to the Zanskar River.
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Lower Kumik, on the valley floor where a handful of new residents have moved from Kumik in search of water.
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A site for a potential new school.
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A woman and resident of Lower Kumik walks across the barren land. Before the canal was washed away this was green and full of barley and wheat crops.
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Fixing water pipes in Lower Kumik. Water from the small and depleting spring of Kumik now feeds these pipes since the canal was washed away.
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A canal that once channelled water through Lower Kumik remains bone dry after the main canal was washed away. Looming in the distance, a half-built home.
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Since the main canal was washed away, storage pools like this have been left to crumble.
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Tanzen Chezen and her children moved to Lower Kumik in the hope that they would be closer to a more reliable water source. Now they are left with what comes down from the original spring.
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Bonchowk Chezen sits inside his new home in Lower Kumik. He is one of the lucky members of the new community. He has steady work in the Indian military and is able to provide for his family.
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A woman of Lower Kumik covers her fodder harvest and prepares for summer rain that never came.
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Thukjay Dolma, a resident of Lower Kumik, washes dishes under a pipe that brings water down from Kumik. Thukjay, put all her family's meagre savings into moving and building a new home. Once again, without water and savings, they are unsure of what the future will bring them.
Waterless Kumik, Zanskar Valley, India - As long as Kumik's history dates back they have had a sustainable source of water. The carving glacier behind the village. More recently, due to climate change, the glacier has completely melted. Kumik is now reliant on a spring that recharges by winte...