Do We Take Clean Water For Granted? These Photos Suggests Yes

Tabish Khan
By Tabish Khan Last edited 29 months ago
Do We Take Clean Water For Granted? These Photos Suggests Yes
Women in Pakistan manually haul water from a well in almost unbearable heat. © Mustafah Abdulaziz/ WaterAid

Did you know that Nigeria is due to become the world's third most populous country by 2050? Yet 60 million Nigerians don't have access to clean water, and more than 100 million don't have access to adequate sanitation facilities.

Meanwhile, Pakistani women often have to manually draw water out of wells that are 150-200 feet deep in temperatures of 50 degrees. Then they face a journey of up to three hours. Many die of exhaustion in these conditions.

These are just a couple of the horror stories documented by photographer Mustafa Abdulaziz in a new exhibition outside the Scoop: Water Stories: The Global Water Crisis in Pictures.

A slum in Kanpur, India. It's on a landfill site and residents don't have the right to build toilets even if they are able to. Copyright WaterAid/ Mustafah Abdulaziz

Abdulaziz shows the impact of these problems on both people and places. Some of his images depict the slums people live in or the skin conditions they have contracted from exposure to contaminated water. Others, the species at risk and rivers foaming with sewage and pollutants.

Despite the seriousness of the exhibition, there are positive photos too, with profiles of the 'citizen scientists' helping carry out research for cleaning up rivers and monitoring the wildlife within them.

Humanity's management of water may also put wildlife at risk, such as this anteater in Brazil. © Mustafah Abdulaziz/ WWF

It's a nice touch that this outdoor display is positioned next to the Thames — it makes a deft juxtaposition to the images of other major rivers such as the Yangtze and Amazon.  

We often take our access to clean water for granted, and this exhibition is a reminder that a large proportion of the world's population doesn't have it so easy.

A boy relaxes on an ancestral tomb in Nigeria. © Mustafah Abdulaziz/ WaterAid
Shanghai seen from above with the Yangtze river. The Yangtze runs for 4,000 miles and is a freshwater source for millions. © Mustafah Abdulaziz/ WWF
The effects of drought on the bed of a Sao Paolo reservoir. © Mustafah Abdulaziz/ Earthwatch

Water Stories: The Global Water Crisis in Pictures is on outside The Scoop, More Riverside, SE1 2AA until 10 April. It's on public display and accessible at any time.

Last Updated 30 March 2016