Vassvaglen – the Water Roost in Lom National Park Village is a wooden tower that illustrates how life-giving water was led down from the mountains with the help of wooden irrigation canals.
The roost was designed by architect Torbjørn Fjellstad, and erected by Lom Municipality in 1985.
An old proverb in Lom says, “Give us sun, our Lord, and we shall provide ourselves with water”. Back in the days, water was a scarce resource, hence it was important not to waste it.
The dry valley - history:
The Ottadalen valley is very dry. Thanks to an old and very complicated field watering system, agriculture has been and still is possible in the district. On a tour along the Bordvassvegen canal you will learn a lot about the irrigation system.
Annual precipitation in Lom and Skjåk is at many places less than 300 mm. Subsistence agriculture is impossible without the artificial irrigation system, unique in Europe. When seasonal snow melting is over, there is little water in the brooks and rivers.
By constructing irrigation channels from the mountains – from the edge of a glacier or a manmade dam where the water from the melting ice could be stored – it was possible to supply the acres and fields in the bottom of the valley with life-giving water.
In the community of Lom 68 channels and dams are registered; the shortest is 300 m, the longest 20 kms. The total length of the channels in Lom is 230 kms, in the neighbouring community Skjåk 300 kms are registered.
Most of the channels supply hamlets, just a few only a single farm.
Cultural Path Bordvassvegen:
Bordvassvegen is a cultural path where you follow an old waterway and get to know with history and traditions around irrigation culture in Lom. The trip goes on the sunny side of the gentle slopes and is a nice walk even if the weather is not at its best.