Observe World Water Day on March 22

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Images from Prix Pictet
World Water Day, celebrated on March 22 every year, is an initiative of the United Nations that recognises that water is a basic requirement for all life. This year's theme: "Shared Water - Shared Opportunities" and "Whether we live upstream or downstream, we are all in the same boat." It calls on all nations to co-operate in resolving transboundary water disputes.

These powerful images by Munem Wasif reveal the daily impact of the scarcity of clean, safe water on the people living in poor, rural communities.The title of the exhibition, "Salt Water Tears: Lives Left Behind in Satkhira, Bangladesh", just about sums up the horror of the problem.

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This photograph of an old wooden boat, sitting on what looks like a geometric platform of cracked mud, is in fact a patch of land that used to be productive, and has been desiccated by salt-water flooding.

The heartbreaking exhibition is supported by the prestigious Prix Pictet and the UK charity WaterAid. It manages projects in the developing world which help communities gain access to clean, safe water, and sanitation and hygiene education. WaterAid is currently working on a number of projects in Bangladesh where over 65 million of the total population of 140 million have no access to basic sanitation

Wasif was commissioned to photograph a project managed by the charity in the Satkhira region in south-west Bangladesh. The lives of the people living there had been destroyed by increased salinity in the water table.

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Finding clean drinking water is a never-ending job. As Wasif’s images show, women travel to the few good ponds with clay pots on their hips, carrying them back to their villages twice a day. Prix Pictet and World Water Day
More on Prix Pictet and World Water Day
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New Prize for Photos Showing Sustainability
World Water Day 2007
World Water Day 2008

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