A Clean Water Initiative for the Himalayas – The Third Pole


himalayas himalyan glacier waterkeeper india leh ladakh

Waterkeeper Alliance, in partnership with Live to Love International and Himalayan Glacier Waterkeeper, founded by His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa, head of the Buddhist Drukpa Lineage, recently launched the first-of-its-kind initiative to protect the waters of the Himalayas, a source of fresh water for nearly half the world’s population.  

In 2013, Waterkeeper Alliance met His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa, leader of the Drukpa school of Buddhism, one of the oldest and most prominent Buddhist lineages, and founder of Live to Love International. His Holiness teaches a core message of service and is a great champion of gender equality, compassion towards all people, and the protection of our natural resources. We found a very strong common bond in protecting everyone’s right to clean water and in mitigating the disastrous effects of climate change; as such, we agreed to embark on a bold campaign to protect the Himalayas. Our long-term goal is to create and train a Himalayan network of 150 Waterkeepers who will lead a grassroots effort to protect these vital water resources and highlight the importance of climate change action.

His Holiness’s first step was to create Himalayan Glacier Waterkeeper in Ladakh, India, followed by 20 other Waterkeeper Affiliates in the area. Additionally, we have launched two Waterkeeper organizations in Nepal, on the Bagmati and Karnali Rivers, and a Thim Chu Waterkeeper in Thimphu, Bhutan, home of the Druk Gyalpo, or Dragon King, and His Eminence the Gyalwa Dokhampa.

Our current work on the Himalayan Initiative involves training this growing network of Waterkeeper organizations over the next year, including 200 ‘kung-fu nuns’ and youth groups in India, Nepal, and Bhutan. This month, Waterkeeper staff and veteran Waterkeepers are journeying to Ladakh, India to demonstrate pollution investigation and water quality monitoring techniques to Drukpa nuns, monks, and youth. Additionally, by educating citizens on the dangers of water pollution and climate change, this initiative will spread information throughout the region about the threats to its vitally important glaciers and rivers. Water pollution and climate change, combined with the forces of modernization, are deeply affecting the natural habitat and traditional way of life of communities throughout the Himalayas.

This project will strengthen our collective efforts in the region to ensure swimmable, drinkable, fishable waters worldwide by protecting one of the largest sources of water on the planet. The Himalayan waters are one of our planet’s most precious resources and we need to take immediate action to protect and preserve them from the devastating impacts of pollution and climate change. You can support this initiative by donating here and following our work on Twitter.live


About Waterkeeper

United as one powerful force, Waterkeeper Alliance fights for every community's right to drinkable, fishable, swimmable water. For more information please visit waterkeeper.org