PHOTOS: New Exhibit At Photoville Features Dreamlike Pictures Of The Water The World Needs : Goats and Soda Photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz has spent four years documenting the world's water woes. His "Water Stories" are now on display by New York's East River.
NPR logo PHOTOS: Dreamlike Pictures Of The Water The World Needs

PHOTOS: Dreamlike Pictures Of The Water The World Needs

Women and children gather at a hand pump in Osukputu, Nigeria, which provides clean water for a community of around 800 people. Mustafah Abdulaziz hide caption

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Mustafah Abdulaziz

Women and children gather at a hand pump in Osukputu, Nigeria, which provides clean water for a community of around 800 people.

Mustafah Abdulaziz

Photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz has dedicated the past four years of his life to one thing: taking pictures that tell stories about water.

From the barren riverbeds of India to the polluted rivers of São Paulo, Brazil, Abdulaziz has photographed in nine countries, seeking to document the global water woes: According to the World Health Organization, nearly 2 billion people "use a drinking water source contaminated with feces" and by 2025, half of the world's population will face shortages in their water supply.

"I knew I wanted to dedicate myself to a long-term project, so I started researching global crisis and issues," he said. "During my research I kept coming across water issues over and over again. So I began to look more into that."

A boy swims in the Paraguay River in Brazil. The 1,600-mile river runs through several countries. Mustafah Abdulaziz hide caption

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Mustafah Abdulaziz

In the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, forests and vegetation in the wetlands have been cleared to make way for cattle and staple crops. Mustafah Abdulaziz hide caption

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Mustafah Abdulaziz

He was surprised to see how many people are oblivious to the problem.

"People tell me they don't even realize that water issues exist," says Abdulaziz. "That itself is a huge issue, and something that made me have water as a subject."

Since he began working on the "Water Stories" project, Abdulaziz has seen how rudimentary solutions can have a major impact.

Maryam Terkuma, 28, is a farmer in Nigeria. Her community had no clean water just a few years ago. WaterAid helped install a pump. Terkuma teaches the community how to store water safely — and keep latrines clean. Mustafah Abdulaziz hide caption

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Mustafah Abdulaziz

Women in Pakistan pull a container of water from a well in the Thar desert. They sometimes must haul water from a depth of 150 to 200 feet. Mustafah Abdulaziz hide caption

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Mustafah Abdulaziz

"A simple water pump allows people to feel invested in themselves and the health of their own community," he says. It provides jobs for people to watch it, fix it, and even form committee boards around the pump."

Abdulaziz plans to continue the project for another 11 years. "It's a big topic and deserves a lot of time and attention," he says. "It should be able to grow organically, have points of failure and success and look at this massive topic in as many ways as possible."

Lake Hong in China's Hubei Province, China, has seen its fish population drop and pollution increase because of fishing practices. Over the past 14 years, the government, local communities and the World Wildlife Fund have helped to restore the lake. Mustafah Abdulaziz hide caption

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Mustafah Abdulaziz

This week, photographs from five of the countries he's visited went on display at New York City's Photoville festival. His images will be shown in light boxes alongside another body of water that he's photographed — New York's East River.