Chilean climate researchers will store water in artificial glaciers. Winter rainwater from the Southern Hemisphere will be frozen for use during the dry months from December to February.
Their goal is to store 100 million gallons of water in this way next year. The so-called Nilus Project, inspired by an Indian initiative, is currently working on mountaintops in Cajon del Maipo, a mountain range southeast of Santiago.
“Nilus is looking for a solution to the massive water crisis facing Chile and the world at large. We are looking for a solution that will help us protect water in the mountains for a long time and then deliver it to the villages below,” said Enrique Gelona, project manager.
A prototype of the project is being tested in the Parque Arenas, the highest part of Cajon. Here, due to the very low temperatures at night, the water can freeze. Experts want hundreds of millions of gallons of water to be stored in a solid state.
“It can supply a community of about 100,000 for about three months,” said Roberto Lara, an engineer at Nilus. Chile has suffered from severe droughts for years. Researchers and environmental activists warn that the Andean glaciers are shrinking even further.