Water Integrity Network

Photo contest questions money impact in water management

A Water Integrity Network competition raises awareness to where and how does money flow in the water sector; see the winners

This year’s theme for the photography contest was carried out by Water Integrity Network (WIN) which tackled the question: where and how does money flow in the water sector? According to the promoters, the idea with this question is to raise awareness about how integrity in money management affects the water sector. Since 2009, the institution promotes an annual photography competition focused on water and which awards the winner a US$1000 voucher for photo equipment.

WIN is a network of organizations and individuals promoting water integrity as a way of reducing corruption and improving performance in the water sector. For the organization, money plays a huge role in this field; it is needed for infrastructure, operation and maintenance to water distribution networks, as well as being fundamental in delivering clean water and sanitation services. The management of water as a resource also requires money for projects such as irrigation systems, dams, reservoirs, and environmental clean-up.

"Sometimes this money is effectively used, resulting in successful programs and projects that deliver safe water and sanitation to citizens, and ensures sustainable water resource management. In other cases, money is not honestly spent on its intended purpose, or simply poorly managed”, claims the organization.

Win Photography Competition

In 2018, the competition chose the 10 best images and announced the winning photo, by Antoine Delepiere. Delepiere’s picture was taken with a smartphone and depicts the mismanagement of finances by private operators in the running and maintenance of water points in Senegal’s Podor region. The image shows how both humans and animals rely on the same water source, and the accompanying caption illustrates how this has led to health problems for nomad communities.

According to the photographer, public water points are managed by private operators who don’t take responsibilities for the protection of these places, used both by humans and animals. This has led to the contamination of water and subsequent health problems. “The money is not used to provide a good quality service. There is a lack of transparency and integrity in managing the water points, and no follow up from the State,” Delepiere said when submitting the image.

There were two runner-ups. The first one, by Sony Ramany, shows a Primary School of the Dagair Government, in Dhaka, Bangladesh. With scarcity of drainage facilities, areas get flooded with little rain. The situation worsens as rainwater gets logged for days, mainly between April and September, making it difficult for school goers and locals to move from one place to another. With huge amounts of corruption, the proposed 8 feet-width drains are constructed with only 2 feet-width, making the drains overflow minutes after a heavy shower of rain pours down.

The second runner-up, Somenath Mukhopadhyay and captured an image in West Bengal. This image depicts a boy in rural West Bengal going home with very little water that he collected from a pond, as all water sources nearby had gone dry during an extreme summer. This picture reflects impoverishment in the area in which households are denied access to clean water.

In the Best Smartphone Photo Category, Delepiere was classified in general – the winning award went to Simone Klawitter who pictured the harsh water reality from the Afar Region, Ethiopia. In her image, a woman pays her family’s water bill in a remote small town where water is provided and metered by a local utility. The picture was taken during a field survey on behalf of UNICEF, the United Nations International Children's Fund, which aims to review and analyze alternative O&M options for rural and peri-urban water supply in Ethiopia in 2017.

See other images in this link.