Living without water is tough
Since the old melter broke down, life has been harsher on the Refuge's employees.
Regardless, they managed just fine. "We save on a daily basis. We adapt, "says Elise Veyrat, the guardian of the shelter.
Every drop of water was optimized, so the Refuge des Cosmiques can pull through until the issue was fixed.
The staff shovelled snow for weeks on the terrace to fill large pots to melt for every day's needs.
"We are lucky in our misfortune ... well somehow," declared Elise Veyrat for Le Dauphine a few weeks ago.
She referred to the fact that, despite being bad for business, the cold and snowy spring did not bring many customers to the Refuge, which meant there was enough water for everyone.
Water scarcity is over
The works at the Refuge des Cosmiques were concluded on the 19th of June 2019.
The melter, which is not technically one, was installed a few meters from the old one.
To successfully install the new melter, the company Bomat first had to dug to reach the glacier, a good meter of snow below the surface.
Then, they had to dig the ice to form a pocket of water two meters deep and measuring around four cubic meters.
For this, hot water was propelled using a compressor at a pressure of 500 bar.
Soon, a hole formed, which turned into a chimney as the ice melted, while a pump sucked the overflow of water to return it close to the pipe.
The new melter is expected to self-feed naturally for years, without the need of any other repairs.
The new system is not technically a melter, nor is it a tank.
Not even the company that built it know how to call it, but the important thing is that it works and the water scarcity at the Refuge des Cosmiques is over.
As for the old melter, the exact causes of its breaking down are still unknown.