"Can artificial glaciers help compensate for the disappearance of naturally forming ones?" asks The Informed Reader (B3), scooping Feb. 2 New Scientist. The answer:
...According to legends, villagers in the Hindu Kush and Karakoram mountain ranges spanning the India-Pakistan border areas have been building artificial glaciers for centuries -- even using one to stop the advance of Gengis Khan in the 13th century. The artificial versions are far smaller than regular glaciers but can reach 800 feet in length. Usually, the glaciers are built in rocky areas 14,800 feet above sea level. Villagers pack ice and snow in the shadows of boulders. When winter arrives, snow bridges the areas between the ice and, over a few years, forms into a self-sustaining glacier.
...which essentially guarantees a steadier source of water.
Still, scientists have yet to systematically establish whether the intentionally assembled ice masses are behind those higher water flows. Ingvar Tveiten of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences thinks that glaciers would have formed anyway in such prime ice-forming locations. But other scientists believe that villagers' efforts have increased the stock of ice around them.
Good science, looking at both sides. This stuff is pretty interesting--why don't you try making a little glacier in a nook near your house. Call me in a few months.