Disputed Waters

Camera, Camjo, Fotografie

*Featured photograph by Ronald de Hommel

Disputed Waters is a large multimedia project initiated by a group of Dutch photographers. It is a blend of quality investigative journalism, documentary photography and videography. Together with journalists and videographers they report on several transboundary rivers where water may become a source of conflict due to climate change. Between 2011 and 2014 we covered in-depth stories about the Colorado, Nile, Mekong, Jordan and Rhine rivers. 

The project is an initiative of a group of independent photographers, writers and videographers. To produce our in depth journalistic reports we try to finance our trips through crowd funding.

What is Disputed Waters about?

We’re interested in the impact of climate change and growing world population on our globalised society. Many experts are predicting that the wars of the future will be fought over water. Well, we tend to agree. Actually there have been many water conflicts in the past, and some are happening right now – for the moment, they are not on the world’s radar because until now, they haven’t – fortunately – been very violent.

But there’s no guarantee that these conflicts will continue to be low-profile in the future. Our aim is to report on the risks of future water conflicts and to investigate what conflicts have been bubbling in recent years. Our project is about painting the big picture, the geo-political story, but we also aim to show the impact of climate change on the man or woman on the street – what are the consequences of pollution, over-consumption etc for them?

We have decided to focus on transboundary rivers because of their impact on various countries and large populations. Changes in the status quo directly have an impact in other parts.

In 2011 I traveled to the Mekong River twice – once in the dry and once in the wet season – and visited Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam to cover the changes happening to the river, due to climate change, population growth and industrial development. On these travels I was accompanied by photographer Ronald de Hommel. Below are some short videos we shot…