Mustafah Abdulaziz has spent the last four years examining humanity's relationship to one of the most basic and precious natural resources: water. Traveling to nine countries, Abdulaziz photographed the polluted rivers of Brazil, the fisheries of China, and the elaborate sewers of New York City for his essay “Water Stories.” His work was supported in part with funding from Earthwatch, WaterAid, WWF, and HSBC's Water Programme.

While ostensibly organized around the oceans, wells, and wetlands of the world, the images touch upon many complicated topics, including mineral extraction, energy, natural disaster, population growth, and climate change. “There, amidst nearly every major challenge facing our planet, was water itself, the subject and the stage,” Abdulaziz said. “It was a resource whose existence reaches back to our origins and whose health will determine our future.” Sixty-eight of his images from are currently on display in New York City on the East River waterfront until October 31.   [15 photos total]

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A boy swims in the Paraguay River in Cáceres, Brazil. (2015) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / WWF-UK) #
A fish farmer cuts grass to feed carp in the Hongxianxi Sustainable Fishery in Hubei Province, China. (2015) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / WWF-UK) #
A sewer pipe underneath Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx borough of New York City, USA (2016) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / EarthWatch) #
Maryam Terkuma, 28, is a farmer in Orwua Nyam, Nigeria. (2015) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / WaterAid) #
The Three Gorges Dam in Yichang, Hubei Province, China. (2015) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / WWF-UK) #
Fishermen prepare their nets in Talib Lashari, Thatta, Pakistan. They have had to travel farther and farther from the coast to catch fish. (2013) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / WaterAid) #
An overhead view of leather tannery fields in Kanpur, India (2014) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / WaterAid) #
Shrimp fishing in Lake Hong, Hubei Province, China (2015) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / WWF-UK) #
The view from atop Edificio Martinelli in São Paulo, Brazil (2015) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / Earthwatch) #
A citizen science leader tests the East River in Astoria Park in the Queens borough of New York City, USA. (2016) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / Earthwatch) #
An aerial view of deforestation in Tangará da Serra, Mato Grosso, Brazil (2015) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / WWF-UK) #
Women pull water from a well in the Thar desert, where temperatures hover at 122°F on summer days, in Bewatoo, Tharparkar, Pakistan. With an extremely low water table and continuing drought, sometimes water must be hauled from a depth of 150 to 200 feet. (2013) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / WaterAid) #
Men inspect a net on the Ganges riverbed, near the barrage, Kanpur, India. Citizens of the area complain of the poor health of the river, the depletion of the water levels, the pollution, and the disappearance of river life. (2014) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / WaterAid) #
An aerial view of Lower Manhattan in New York City, USA. Despite being one of the wealthiest cities in the world, New York still has significant water quality problems mainly stemming from old infrastructure, storm water overflow, and too many impervious surfaces such as concrete. (2016) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / Earthwatch) #
Women and children gather at a hand pump in Osukputu, Benue, Nigeria. The water source serves a community of around 800 people with clean, safe water. (2015) (Mustafah Abdulaziz / WaterAid) #

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