Shrimp fishing, Lake Hong, Hubei Province, China, 2015.
A couple work on the lake at sunrise. Although poems and stories about Lake Hong’s purity are enshrined in Chinese cultural history, it has been damaged by unsustainable fishing practices. Over the past 14 years local communities and government have helped to restore the lake, demonstrating how sustainable fishing methods can result in healthy fish, reduced pollution and clean water. Credit: © Mustafah Abdulaziz / WWF-UK


I previously shared the news that I got the chance to work with Wateraid and WWF in bringing a photography exhibition to Stockholm. It's launching this week as part of the Stockholm Culture Festival.

WWF, WaterAid and Earthwatch, together with photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz, have documented images and stories highlighting the global water crisis. The photographs form the Water Stories exhibition, supported by the HSBC Water Programme. 

The first exhibition in an international tour will be held on Strandvägen, Stockholm, from 11-30 August.

Surrounded by water in central Stockholm, the exhibition coincides with the city’s Culture Festival (Stockholms Kulturfestival) 11- 16 August, and the 25th anniversary of World Water Week 23 - 28 August, organised by SIWI. 

Over the course of two years American-born Abdulaziz captured the effects of urbanization, poor sanitation and pollution in India; water scarcity and contamination in Pakistan, and expanding industry and population in China. His powerful images convey the effects of these issues on people and the environment, and how better management and protection of water sources can strengthen communities, and underpin development. 



About Mustafah Abdulaziz

Mustafah Abdulaziz is an American documentary photographer based in Berlin, Germany. His on-going project “Water” has received support from the United Nations, WaterAid and VSCO. It has been reviewed by Phaidon, Monopol and published in Der Spiegel, The New Yorker, Telegraph Magazine and The Guardian. Mustafah worked as the first contract photographer for The Wall Street Journal. He is the winner of the Syngenta photography award 2015. In 2012, he was named one of PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers to Watch. http://www.mustafahabdulaziz.com/ 


Selected images



Stagnant water, near Anshu Jha’s house, Rajapurwa slum, Kanpur, India, 2014.
itting in the middle of the pool is a broken water pump; garbage floats on the surface and mosquitos hover. In the rainy season, levels rise and the water intrudes on Anshu’s house. During this time of year water and sanitation related sickness is rife. Credit: WaterAid/ Mustafah Abdulaziz


Children journey to collect water, Sindh Province, Pakistan, 2013.
Children pause during their journey to collect water, huddling together against the wind in southern Sindh, where floods gripped the country in 2010 and 2011. Agriculture in the region was devastated. Credit: WaterAid/ Mustafah Abdulaziz


Women pull water from a well, Tharpakar, Pakistan, 2013.
In the Thar desert, temperatures hover at 48-50°C on summer days. With an extremely low water table and continuing drought, sometimes water must be hauled from a depth of 150-200 feet. “Women fall unconscious on their way to these dug wells,” said Marvi Bheel, 45, a resident of Bewatoo, Tharparkar. The unending pursuit for water is a heavy demand on women worldwide. From the water-scarce regions in southern Ethiopia to the desert wells of Pakistan, it is women who are primarily responsible for gathering water. Credit: WaterAid/ Mustafah Abdulaziz

Chandani and her mother Roshni, Goswami Nagar slum, Kanpur, India, 2014. Roshni shares her home with her husband, mother-in-law and five children in Goswami Nagar slum. She says: “My children used to fall ill all the time because of the water. They used to suffer from fever and vomiting. I could not save any money because I had spent it all on medicines.”With the support of WaterAid, local NGO Shramik Bharti supported the community through months of meetings and local campaigning to help the slum finally receive official acknowledgement as a legitimate settlement in 2014. Since then the slum has begun to see improvements in its toilet facilities and water supply, and people are now willing to invest in their surroundings. Shramik Bharti identified volunteers from the community and trained them to champion change in water, sanitation and hygiene. The citizen leaders had many successes – for example, they spotted an old sewer line, and, with the help of the Department of Kanpur Municipal Corporation (KMC), connected it to existing toilets. They also oversaw the restoration of dysfunctional hand pumps and built a new submersible pump to service the whole community. “Since the submersible pump was built my children are well,” continues Roshni. “Now that money is being saved, I have admitted my children to private school." Credit: WaterAid/ Mustafah Abdulaziz


Chandani and her mother Roshni, Goswami Nagar slum, Kanpur, India, 2014.
Roshni shares her home with her husband, mother-in-law and five children in Goswami Nagar slum. She says: “My children used to fall ill all the time because of the water. They used to suffer from fever and vomiting. I could not save any money because I had spent it all on medicines.”With the support of WaterAid, local NGO Shramik Bharti supported the community through months of meetings and local campaigning to help the slum finally receive official acknowledgement as a legitimate settlement in 2014. Since then the slum has begun to see improvements in its toilet facilities and water supply, and people are now willing to invest in their surroundings. Shramik Bharti identified volunteers from the community and trained them to champion change in water, sanitation and hygiene. The citizen leaders had many successes – for example, they spotted an old sewer line, and, with the help of the Department of Kanpur Municipal Corporation (KMC), connected it to existing toilets. They also oversaw the restoration of dysfunctional hand pumps and built a new submersible pump to service the whole community. “Since the submersible pump was built my children are well,” continues Roshni. “Now that money is being saved, I have admitted my children to private school." Credit: WaterAid/ Mustafah Abdulaziz


Short film


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