Join us on a journey to 2050. Water is a connector of all things on our planet and can help us realise our hopes and vision for the future. Through a series of illustrated stories from the future: Visions of water – seeing the unseen, we will explore how water can make our dreams a reality.

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, 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

Illustration by Radhika Gupta showing a water harvesting bassin, in the middle of the Jordan desert. Groups of people and animal gathering around
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Whispers from a Jordanian watershed

The first vision in the series explores the power of water to collate peace. People’s relationship with water in places with very little water also determines their relationship with each other and the environment. Such regions also harvest water to avoid droughts.

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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.

Illustration of several women seated across a river pouring from a cup held by a woman. On a starry night with a half moon, they are carrying diamonds and there is one who is with a basket of fruit.
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Across Nile around the table: Women with a shared dream

This piece speaks about the power of water to achieve gender equality. It is 2050. Have you ever wondered why our rivers, ecosystems, and societies look the way they do? The world looks different today than it did before women had more influence over how water is managed.

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“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.”

Amitav Ghosh, in his book The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable
An agricultural landscape with a person sitting on a large cabbage and eating a piece of watermelon, above a person catching raindrops in a net, and on the right, a person standing on a big pumpkin and cooking soup inside it, on the bottom right two people exchanging vegetables in return for money.
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Catching raindrops in Zambezi

This piece explores the power of water to strengthen food security. What type of water is needed for growing food? Are farmers doing enough to secure those sources of water? Are food value-chains supportive of those farmer practices?

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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.

A blue bowl of water with fish, a hippo, a freshwater turtle, and a fishing boat. Around the bowl are hills with a person looking through a pair of binocs. In the field, a person is cycling on the left side of the bowl, and to the right there is a house. Above in the sky, is a big orange sun.
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Lake Hawassa is what happiness looks like

This vision depicts the power of water to restore ecosystems. One only needs to visit Lake Hawassa in Rift Valley to understand why people choose to live here and continue protecting it up until today. What makes it such a happy place? Ruth Mathews of SIWI is not surprised.

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