Restoring Water Supply to Phutkar Monastery, Ladakh

The Situation

The Phutkar Gompa or Phutkar Monastery is one of the very few Buddhist monasteries accessible only by foot. In the remotest areas, Phutkar Gompa sits about 3900 above sea level in Lungnak Valley, Ladakh region, Northern India. The monastery is believed to have been visited by numerous sages, scholars, translators, and monks around 2,550 years ago.

At present, it is home to nearly 100 monks who, for decades, sourced all of their water from a freshwater spring near the river. However, over the last decade or so, this water source has run dry, leaving the monks with no other option but to source water from a natural spring, walking about 1000 metres below the monastery.

This walk is arduous and equally exhausting, given the frigid climatic conditions and high altitudes. Every day becomes a challenge for these monks to walk at least 30 minutes to access clean and safe water, especially during the harsh winter months of December to March. In November 2021, the monastery reached out to see if a solution was available to ease their water problem.


There are primarily four signifcant obstacles to the water supply in Phutkar:

  • Highly erratic precipitation in the region due to climate change makes it almost impossible to depend on a regular water source. The river also begins to freeze deeper and deeper, making it impossible to source water.
  • The lack of a reliable and long-term power source makes it challenging to pump out whatever little water remains.
  • The natural springs are also not the most dependable water source, as they often have inadequate quantities.
  • Crossing 1000 meters in the bitter cold and deep snow to access fresh water.


The Solution

To overcome these hurdles, Grundfos and its partner, M/s Navikarana (NGO) & M/s SIAB Surgiment, have worked on a sustainable and long-term solution to solve the challenges involved in supplying water to the monastery. By deploying a solar-powered pump system (SQF 2.5-2) 6 meters below the ice crust, the monks are saved from making the dangerous and laborious journey to the spring. They are also provided with a long-term and sustainable, dependable solution to source fresh water.


The Outcome

Now, Grundfos pumps and systems work tirelessly and effciently even in the harshest climatic conditions, delivering safe and clean water to the monastery using the least energy possible. As a result, what used to be a mammoth task of walking through dangerous paths in the harsh winter cold to fetch water is now made as simple as turning a switch on. Grundfos provided a sustainable solution to a severe crisis, even in the remotest area. Indeed when you have a genuine passion for sustainability and making people's lives better, anything is possible!