Don’t drink the water, even if there is any to drink (Update)

March 22, 2010

One more picture that caught my eye during the 24 hours news cycle for the World Water Day is the image of hundreds of hoses providing drinking water to  residents of a housing block in Jakarta.  The grubby plastic pipes supplying a fragile lifeline to families seem to represent the desperation that people face when the water supply is cut off.


Hoses used to supply residences with water are seen hanging across a street at the Penjaringan subdistrict in Jakarta March 22, 2010. Residents in the area say that they have had to construct makeshift water supplies for their homes by attaching hoses to pumps bought with their own money, as the government has yet to repair the original water supply which was damaged. March 22 is World Water Day.     REUTERS/Beawiharta

Today, March 22 is World Water Day and Reuters photographers in Asia were given an open brief to shoot feature pictures to illustrate it.  The only requirement I asked of them is that they included in the captions, the fact that while the Earth is literally covered in water, more than a billion people lack access to clean water for drinking or sanitation. At the same time in China 50 million people are facing drought conditions and water shortages and the two stories seemed to tie in with one another.

Looking at the file today three pictures really stuck home to me as to just how enormous the problem of getting clean water to people in the world is.


A boy swims in the murky waters of Manila Bay March 21, 2010. The Earth is literally covered in water, but more than a billion people lack access to clean water for drinking or sanitation as most water is salty or dirty. March 22 is World Water Day.    REUTERS/Cheryl Ravelo

india watrer

A Hindu devotee wraps his cloth after a ritual dip in the polluted Yamuna river in New Delhi March 21, 2010. The Earth is literally covered in water, but more than a billion people lack access to clean water for drinking or sanitation as most water is salty or dirty. March 22 is World Water Day. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui


A floating restaurant is stranded in a branch of the Yangtze River in Chongqing Municipality, March 21, 2010. A severe drought across a large swathe of southwest China is now affecting more than 50 million people, and forecasters see no signs of it abating in the short term, state media said on Friday. REUTERS/Stringer

What is obvious from the pictures I have seen people are worried about water; the pollution, its scarcity and its future. March 22 is same day the U.S House of Representatives gave its final approval to President Obama’s healthcare reform. What will it take to get global approval and the necessary motivation for clean water around the globe?


I don’t understand it: Alle denken an sich, nur ich denk an mich.

Posted by Reinhard | Report as abusive

Today, free access to a clean and safe drinking water seems to be an impossible dream for many. Due to a booming population and rapid industrialization, harmful bacteria and toxic pollutants causing cancers and metabolic disorders have found their way in our drinking water. May I please share my innovation called Paper-disc Immobilized Bioluminescence Technology or PIBiT, which is a simple and inexpensive way of testing our water for minute amounts of toxicants like heavy metals, dyes, halogenated hydrocarbons, etc. PIBiT can just be as inexpensive as the cost of a tablespoon of table salt. To know more of my personal advocacy of using bioluminescence for a greener world, please search “Biolumin” in YouTube or google “Blue Light Green World”. Let us ensure free access to a safe and clean drinking water for all! Congratulations to the United Nations in celebration of World Water Day with the theme Clean Water for a Healthy World!

Posted by Edward Quinto | Report as abusive

Great photos – always nice to do a series of photos around the world about the same problem. And Reuters is one of the small amount of players that can do that well!



No one will take action until millions of people start dying of thirst. If there is no money in it very few governments (politicians) or corporations will make any effort.

What they will do is position themselves to control the clean water that does remain.

The 21st century will see massive global wars fought over water rights.

If we’re lucky, an enterprising individual or organization will find a zero-point energy technique for harvesting salt water and turning it into clean H2O – but they will meet serious resistance (see the electric car) from those parties that are in control of existing water resources.

It’s going to be quite a large power struggle going forward.



I believe that your number is no accurate. You are not speaking from clear and pure water for the other billions, but about water from the toilets that runs through a huge ‘washing-machine’ and that we drink as a cup of tea. The brownish color is not always due to the Dilamihr tea or to the calo-cloas!
Lets face the truth.


water is precious and it is the source of life on the planet.humankind must learn to live within limited resources of potable water and try to preserve our natural environment.
reuters’ photos just teach us this.

Posted by dr.avinash manwatkar,selu. | Report as abusive

Every nation aims to be a superpower in technology, science, industry but forget the basic needs of common man !

Posted by Chakravarthy | Report as abusive

Treating water in isolation an error. Soil water vegetation atmosphere are the baseline assets of the historians of tomorrow we borrowed them the receiver of earth inc was a Business would likely be shut down as dead
Address Bankers recovery and error! Critical is a new think management to address reparation of all asset together. Actually under the base plan of UNFCCC Kyoto broadened to address asset reparation and trade the (reparation) credits it would boost the US economy to start. Correct planting of C4 CO2 sink vegetation will see soil again to grow food correctly planted sea to alps see rainfall carbon and trace element cycles start again. Actually nothing brilliant just replicating Natures 4billion years of repair following mass volcanic eruptions 50 at least according to research. Robert Vincin reversing deserts PRC


Fantastic series of photos, showing all aspects of beauty and problems with water. Pollution, desertification, child malnutrition, hunger and poverty are global problems directly related to drought. Looking for solutions, we have suggested to apply container gardening at the largest scale, both in urban and in rural areas, e.g. with vertical gardening. The Manilla Bay photo supports our point that it would be better to grow fruit tree seedlings in plastic containers or bags before planting, than to litter all that plastic.


The photos are really shocking. I cannot imagine how severe the problem is.

Posted by Doreen | Report as abusive

Rivers & Streams are turning into gutters and the deposits are sedimenting beneath for good. Soil erosion due to housing and agriculture are filling up all the age old ponds & tanks. If not they are flattened by occupation resulting in water logging during monsoons. No amount of technology or efforts can ever clean up the mess we humans have created and deposited in the last century of progress with Plastics & Detergents ! ” Bore Welling ” has depleted ground water deep down to Hell introducing saline waters onto fertile soils.

While Our ” Miss Leaders ” continue to promise us the Earth back …. The Photos can only bring back memories of what it use to be…. The insects and the outdoor kingdoms of wildlife will soon be gone forever ~ The rest will also follow in time to come !

There is no denial of what unchecked ” Super Fast Progress ” can do to our Lives by snatching Nature which took Millions of Years to form into !

sing !!!


Great series and sad look at this condition, everywhere in the globe face suffering lack of clean water. Small type for who luck have clean water in your home, we have to save use waters everyday personally, planting many trees, make a green carport, build a water absorption weels in the backyard.

Posted by enny nuraheni | Report as abusive

If even now the world does not wake up and take action for conservation, doom’s day would not be far!

Posted by arvind | Report as abusive

I loved the hoses flying out of the houses. Magical depiction of a sad reality.


Human population is up 600% in 200 years. We are in what is known as “Plague Phase” in biology. As we have leveraged our knowledge and skill to subjugate and milk the rest of the planet for our benefit, we have been destroying the stocks and flows of nature. A self-cull will reverse population growth at some point, whether WMDs, famines, or plagues. As the saying goes: we are too smart for our own good.

Posted by Steve | Report as abusive

People deserve good life time and home loans or car loan will make it much better. Because people’s freedom is based on money state.


this is so sad…no words.


It was certainly interesting for me to read the post. Thanks for it. I like such topics and everything connected to them. I would like to read a bit more on this site soon. By the way, rather good design you have at that blog, but don’t you think design should be changed once in a few months?

Whitny Swingfield
shaving mirror

Posted by Whitny Swingfield | Report as abusive

have you ever gone without water?i’m wealthy,and when it happened i would have given you everything i had,or spent my life working so hard for,the greatest lesson of my life

Posted by mk | Report as abusive

this is the other side of civilization like Home Movie director said , it’s really sad when countries have much more food than its need while an other lack even of water .


I read about this in the Daily Mail. Im not being racist but so-called celebrities are preaching dislike because thy are barely human. let Boris Johnson sort it out. What about my right not to be killed every day?!


Believe nothing, regardless of where you study it, or who mentioned it, no matter if I’ve mentioned it, unless it agrees together with your personal cause and your personal typical sense. — Buddha


this post will somehow be deleted! . it’s obvious that pathetic liberal tree huggers are bring us down the river. Simple answer: stand up and be counted. Is it a tune too familiar from our tv?!!!


I read about this in the Daily Mail. Im not being racist but so-called celebrities are preaching nothing because thy are barely uman. let Boris Johnson sort it out. What about my right not to be killed every day?!


Hey… It looks like there’s a problem with the layout of the page. For some reason the text block is running into the edge. I don’t know if it’s just me or are others reporting the same thing? Just wanted to let you know in case you’ve been updating the site. Thanks!


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Hi guys, tried loading this blog through Google RSS reader and got a strange error message, any ideas what could be the issue?

Posted by كازينو | Report as abusive

I will look into the RSS issue for you, Russell

Posted by Russell Boyce | Report as abusive

As regards the RSS issue – got this back from techies

I just tested it myself and it worked successfully.

Perhaps he only clicked on your tweet rather than the full blog link? 010/08/16/asia-week-in-photos-floods-pak istan-fighting-in-kashmir-mudslide-china -yen-dollar-rate-india-ramadan-and-olymp ics-httpbit-ly9syhlr/

Posted by Russell | Report as abusive

Nevermind, works now!


got a nice refreshing glass right now.. :)