Today is World Water Day – a global opportunity to take action, to make a difference and to be inspired by the vital role that water holds to life on Earth.
Water Stories documents our most precious natural resource. In this new exhibition photographer Mustafah presents images from an ongoing study of the global water crisis.
In collaboration with the HSBC Water Programme, a partnership between HSBC, Earthwatch, WaterAid and WWF, it illustrates how collective action by all sectors of society can bring about change. Containing powerful images from four continents, the exhibition examines how water shapes every aspect of our lives.
Mustafah has captured individuals and the landscapes whose stories are intertwined with, and impacted by water – the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, where just two polluted rivers provide water for 21 million people; the poisoned marigold fields of Kanpur, India; shrimp fishermen at dawn on the restored Lake Hong, China; the barren river bed of the Ganges, India; and brightly dressed women hauling water from a 150ft well, three hours walk from their home in Pakistan.
The exhibition also includes portraits of individuals working to improve their local environment, the female mason building toilets in Kanpur, India; the former hunter, Zhang, who now protects wildlife around Lake Hong in China; and the volunteer citizen scientists who gather data on freshwater quality in London, UK.
Collectively the photographs chart the diverse and far reaching effects of urbanisation, poor sanitation, pollution, water scarcity, and the side effects of expanding industry and population. Previously unexhibited works include landscapes scarred by deforestation in Brazil and barriers to development such as conflict and inaccessibility in Nigeria.
Photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz said: “Water is one of the great challenges of our time. Across the planet we are seeing our fundamental relationship with water called into question.
“Our most critical resource for life on this planet hangs in a delicate balance: between growing populations and energy demands, between rising seas and melting ice, and between those who have access to clean water and those who do not.
“Photographs have the capacity to bring into focus our place in the world, where this imbalance between water and civilization may be explored in the hope we may look upon ourselves and our world not as separate entities but as one whose future is intrinsically linked. It is my honour to work alongside NGOs and people who care passionately about finding answers to the question of water.”
Watch a video of Water Stories here