Coalification of Water

This year’s World Water Day marks the launch of the 5th United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR) on the theme of water and energy. Coal remains a top energy producer world-wide. Its connection to water is a parasitic one. It drains our precious water supplies and spits back polluted skies, lakes, streams and rivers, both in its processing and production. The following pictures are a journey through the lives of people (their homes and their lands) who have been directly affected by coal power production. These are people and places which already suffer from water-scarcity but now see their livelihoods and health hung in the balance of an outmoded means of energy production.

A worker at the MNS Informal Settlement coal washing station in Mpumalanga, Emalahleni, South Africa, stands alongside water that has already being used. Water pollution from coal is a serious problem in South Africa and deepening a water scarcity crisis. A million households currently live without access to the minimum 25 liters of water per person per day; a further 2 million people’s water supply is below basic service standard. This has in turn threatened social stability - the number of service delivery protests driven by water scarcity has increased sharply in recent years.

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Solar micro-grid project, Dharnai Village, India

Video | 13 August, 2014 at 11:30

The people of Dharnai village used to have a facility supplied by the state Government which provided electricity. This infrastructure hasn't been available for the last 33 years and diesel generators have been the only source of electricity.

Portraits of Arctic Sunrise Crew

Slideshow | 8 August, 2014

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