News.Apr 29, 2022

Visions of water – seeing the unseen

Water is a connector of all things on our planet. But it is also something that helps us to realise our hopes and vision for the future. In this piece, we introduce our series of illustrated stories from the future: Visions of water – seeing the unseen.

Brown woman with a smile, multicolour scarf over an off white sweater
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Radhika Gupta
Communications Manager,

‘Visions of water – seeing the unseen’ is a series of illustrated stories that imagines our world in 2050. Water provides life and connects all aspects of life, yet many of its powers remain unseen. The stories present ‘visions of water’ based on real-world projects of SIWI, set in a future where the true powers of water have been recognised by all.

The first story, Whispers from a Jordanian watershed, celebrates the power of water to collate peace. The second one, Across the Nile and around the table: Women with a shared dream, speaks about the power of water to achieve gender equality. The third, Catching raindrops in Zambezi to secure food, explores the power of water to secure food and livelihoods. The fourth, Lake Hawassa is what happiness looks like, depicts the power of water to restore ecosystems.

Why illustrated stories?  

Storytelling is the most ancient form of passing down knowledge. With modern tools, we are blessed to be able to push the boundaries of storytelling. The illustrations are based on interviews with people associated to the projects in question.

The disturbances in society and negative impacts of human induced climate change are highly daunting. Communicating about the most pressing issues of our times plays a key role in how people’s views and perceptions are shaped. The illustrations and accompanying texts are intended to stretch our imagination of what is possible if we pull all the right levers. The challenges that we face today, go beyond a specific moment in time, and they need continuous effort and ambassadors to push communication for change.

Amitav Ghosh writes in his book The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable: “When future generations look back…they will certainly blame the leaders and politicians of this time for their failure to address the climate crisis. But they may well hold artists and writers to be equally culpable — for the imagining of possibilities is not, after all, the job of politicians and bureaucrats.”

The challenges that we face today, go beyond a specific moment in time, which need continuous effort and ambassadors to push communication for change.

The future

The success of SIWI’s projects relies heavily on the continued trust and support of our partners and funders. It also depends on how we communicate about what lies ahead, and the possible solutions to our challenges. The stories from ‘Visions of water – seeing the unseen’, are reminders of the endless possibilities that the power of imagination holds. To develop and realise those dreams and visions, such as a peaceful Middle East and North Africa region or a food secure African continent, we need the support and cooperation of each of those engaged and more people to join for the long run.

Explore the entire series

The year is 2050. People and planet are thriving in peace and prosperity. How did we get here? This series of illustrated stories ‘Visions of water – seeing the unseen’ leads our imagination into a future when we have recognised the unseen powers of water.

Step into 2050
Illustration of woman pouring water from a cup against a half moon and starry night