Water Scarcity: Ethiopia & Pakistan.

Mustafah Abdulaziz‘s Water (2012-2018) is photographic typology of a natural resource in crisis. Structured into chapters, the project reflects on our relationship with water, how we use and misuse it, to ultimately understand our place within one of the greatest challenges of our time. This on-going project, spanning water issues from 32 countries, has received grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, commissions from the United Nations and WaterAid.

His project Water Scarcity: Ethiopia & Pakistan is the first step on that long photographic journey.


women-water-001After reaching the dry riverbed, women must spend time scratching the dirt until brackish water appears, scoop it into their containers and carry the 20 kilograms back up the mountain.

women-water-002“Bringing the water is not a simple task”, says Mariam Bakaule of the mountaintop village of Jarso in southwest Ethiopia. “This is the essence of women. Women and water are synonymous here. “

women-water-003A dry riverbed in the southern Konso region of Ethiopia.

women-water-004Although Uchiya Nallo, 29, is eight months pregnant and spends half of her day climbing up a mountain side carrying 20 litres of water (approximately 20kg, the average weight allowance for a suitcase when flying), she is still worrying about prepraring beer for visiting guests after she’s given birth.

women-water-006A woman who recently gave brith to a daughter clings to life while men from her village hike 16 kilometers from the nearest medical center to her village in the mountains.

women-water-017Women of Tharpakar in the southern Sindh Province of Pakistan work together to pull water from a well. Even when one person is done, they all remain at the well to share in the task.

women-water-019Children take a break during their journey for water, huddling against the wind in the desert of the southern Sindh province, where the 2011 earthquake left the land flooded and soaked into salt. Agriculture in the region has been devastated.

women-water-020A grandmother comforts her grand-grand child as he suffers from diarrhea, caused by the unsafe dirnking water in the town of Thatta. Diarrhea is on of the leading causes of child mortality worldwide.

women-water-023Like Ethiopia, the burden of water collection falls on women and children. Their journeys across parched landscapes are a reality that dominates their lives, time and health.

/all photos © Mustafah Abdulaziz/

For more on Mustafah Abdulaziz and his work, visit his official website.


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