Project info

“While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding, and very thirsty civilization, we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways. In this new and powerful role over the planet, we are also capable of engineering our own demise. We have to learn to think more long-term about the consequences of what we are doing, while we are doing it. My hope is that these pictures will stimulate a process of thinking about something essential to our survival; something we often take for granted—until it’s gone.” —Edward Burtysnky

There is no life without water. Burtynsky's new and highly anticipated book Water tells us the story of where water comes from, how we use it, distribute and waste it. Often using a bird's-eye perspective, the photographer shows us its remote sources, remarkable ancient step-wells and mass bathing rituals, the transformation of desert into cities with waterfronts on each doorstep, the compromised landscapes of the American Southwest. Furthermore, Burtynsky explores the infrastructure of water management: the gigantic hydroelectric dams and terraced rice fields in the heart of China, the vast irrigation systems of America's bread basket and the use of aquaculture. The color photographs in this book are poetic and at the same time highly relevant: they reveal another vital component of our life on earth that drives the bloom of civilization, and foreshadow the extent to which our future depends on our everyday behavior in dealing with this increasingly scarce resource.