This 'Astonishing water' photos section offers some mystery and/or astonishing water photos that illustrate the diversity of innovative water uses and devices globally. Enjoy our astonishing water world!


Astonishing photo 1

Niagara Falls (USA/Canada)

"Until the development of the New York State Reservation Park in 1885, nearly all the shoreline property along the Niagara Gorge and every viewing area of the Falls was privately owned. Following the creation of the Reservation Park, the State of New York continued to entice industrialization with an offer of cheap water power"

See more details at


Photo credit:


Astonishing photo 2

Raised beds, Suphan Buri, Thailand

Raised beds are very popular in Southeast-Asia for vegetable and fruit tree crops in hydromorphic soils, most especially in deltas  (see a Mexicain equivalent: chinampas).

Irrigation of crops occurs directly through maintaining the water levels in the ditch but also through sprinklers : where can be source from ? from the ditches of course, through a small floating pump that follows the farmer as he proceeds along the bed…

See the original photo at


Photo credit: François Molle/IRD


Astonishing photo 3

'Aerial well', Trans en Provence, France

An aerial well is a structure or device that collects the condensation of moisture from air. This idea is actually quite old, as can be seen from  This impressive mega-structure has been designed by Belgium engineer Achille Knapen in 1930. It never worked… but is still there to be seen.

See, in French, ‘Des fontaines sans source’ by A.Gioda


Photo Credit Wikipedia :


Astonishing photo 4

Lobuche, Kumbu Valley, Nepal (5000 m in altitude)

A washing machine on top of the world ! Water is sourced directly from the torrent and electricity is generated by a gas engine.

Original :


Photo credit : Patrice Garin


Astonishing photo 5

Damnoen Saduak area, west of Bangkok

Raised beds can be planted with coconut trees, especially in areas under tidal influence where the average salinity is higher. But harvested nuts have to be hauled out of the beds, which are often connected to the plot's surrounding dyke by a simple plank or bamboo.... Water provides a solution: nuts are cut, thrown into the ditch, assembled in garlands, and finally tugged to the exit of the plot with a minimal effort.

Original à


Credit photo: Surachit Chirawet


Astonishing photo 6

Free lunch

Les poissons qui passent par les dissipateurs d’énergie des déversoirs des barrages le font à leurs risques et périls…

American White Pelicans gather at the base of Pyramid Lake’s Marble Bluff Dam, USA


Credit: USBR (US Bureau of Reclamation)


Astonishing photo 7

Boat lift at Saint-Louis-Arzviller, northeastern France

Le plan incliné de Saint-Louis-Arzviller is a boat lift which is part of the canal linking the Marne and the Rhine rivers and allos the crossing of the Vosges Mountain range, in northeastern France.

The lift celebrated its 50th anniversary this year (2019)


Credit : Patrick Giraud 


Astonishing photo 8

Created wetlands, California

These are created wetlands, mostly from previously planted agricultural fields.  Most of these are created by the California Department of Fish & Wildlife in collaboration with the Audubon Society, CA Waterfowl Association and Ducks Unlimited to accommodate and encourage winter waterfowl migrants to stop and stay for the season.

Photo with full resolution :

See other incredible ‘constructed wetlands’ in California and other exceptional pics by Bruce Barnett


Credit : Bruce Barnett


Astonishing photo 9

Natural cooling ‘system’ near Tengchong, Volcanic park, in Yunnan, China

Keeping fruits and bottles cool thanks to the river

Full resolution version at

Credit : Karen Conniff



Astonishing photo 10

Tea pot at Hammam Meskoutine, Algeria

Last week's astonishing photo showed how to make use of the cooling power of rivers.

Why not do the opposite and prepare… tea, temperature allowing of course!

See full resolution pic at


Credit : Eliott MM


Astonishing photo 11

Ladybower reservoir plug hole (spillway), UK

Full resolution original:


Credit: Tim Hill


Astonishing photo 12

Mobypompe, Burkina Faso

This device allows a motorcycle engine to be used to pump water and, for example, irrigate small areas

Other photos :


Credit : Bruno Barbier/Cirad


Astonishing photo 13

‘Water saving winegrowing’

When saving water is becoming a commercial argument for winegrowers in Chile !

Full resolution original:


Credit : Sophie Bradford 


Astonishing photo 14

Temple pavillon (chozuya), Kyoto, Japon

Shinto water ablution pavilion for a ceremonial purification rite known as temizu, that can be found at the entrance of temples.

Other chozuya

Original :


Credit : François Molle


Astonishing photo 15

Dividing groundwater between users, Yemen

Each right holder has a distinct pipe.

Original photo at :


Credit : Frank van Steenbergen


Astonishing photo 16

Irrigated terraces along steep wadi, Yemen

Original at


Credit: Jochen Regner


Astonishing photo 17

Collecting lotus flowers in a flooded field, Central Thailand

Original at


Credit: François Molle


Astonishing photo 18

Makeshift swimming pool, Palestine

In the vicinity of BirZeit, a Palestinian father built a swimming pool with plastic sheets in his vegetable garden for the children of the village.

Original at


Credit: Heiner Schmitz

Astonishing photo 19

Sharing water equitably

Village Water Supply System - Kis - Near Sheki – Azerbaijan


Credit: Adam Jones @ Flickr/ see Adam's great albums at


Astonishing photo 20

Enjoying curative mineral waters, Madagascar


Credit: Rod Waddington; see Rod's amazing collection at


Astonishing photo 21

Terraced paddy-fields, Yunan, China

Whether from China, Vietnam or Philippines, terraced paddy-fields are inevitably irresistible

See our dazzling collection of terraced fields

See original HD at


Credit: Isabelle Chauvel


Astonishing photo 22

Moving wood on Lake Tana, Ethiopia

No boat needed here. The wood is clustered and floated across the lake.

See original resolution at


Credit: François Molle


Astonishing photo 23

Bride on boat, Vietnam

The bride is taken to the groom’s house for the wedding ceremony

Presumably he leaves on the other side of the lake

See original resolution at


Credit: Quang Nguyen Vinh (on pixabay)


Astonishing photo 24

Alluvial fan and spate irrigation in Iran

The art of diverting and sharing water


Source: NASA image created by Jesse Allen, using data from NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS, and the U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption by Rebecca Lindsey, based on interpretation provided on the ASTER Project Science Imagery Gallery Website.


Astonishing photo 25

Lovely oasis
Huacachina oasis, Ica, Peru

See original resolution at


Credit : Willian Justen de Vasconcellos; unsplash


Astonishing photo 26

Taum Sauk reservoir failure, USA

An elevated view of the path of the failure and the drained reservoir.
This conspicuous elevated reservoir has been constructed on top of Proffit Mountain to store water pumped out of peak time and to generate electricity during peak times.

See Hydropower Reform Coalition - see

And original resolution at


Credit: Missouri Attorney General's Office.


Astonishing photo 27

Waste from drip irrigation lines, Diama, Senegal

Drip irrigation generates considerable plastic waste, as drip lines have to be replaced between one and five years, according to their quality and local conditions.

Original resolution photo at


Credit: Jean-Yves Jamin, Cirad 


Astonishing photo 28

People releasing fish to acquire merit, Bangkok

Fish released in water by Buddhist people willing to acquire merit (tham bun), Wat Yaowarat, Bangkok, Thailand.

The slide is used to release fish without harming them.

See original resolution at


Credit: François Molle 


Astonishing photo 29

Energy dissipating structure after a weir, Japan

Katsu-uri weir on the Kinu River, north of Tokyo

See full resolution original photo at


Credit: François Molle, IRD (and thanks to Dr Satoh)

Astonishing photo 30

Nilometer, Cairo

Several nilometers allowed the measure of the flood intensity in the Nile valley. The river communicates with the shaft where the water level can be conveniently read.

See the photo with original resolution


Credit: François Molle, IRD

Astonishing photo 31

Seat to cool-down along Karkorum Highway, Pakistan

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Credit: Karen Conniff


Astonishing photo 32

Collective water lifting, Chao Phraya Delta, Thailand

Axial pumps powered by 2-wheel tractors are ubiquitous in Thailand.

Here in Lop Buri province farmers congregate in the dry season to suck up water from a main drain.

See the photo with original resolution


Credit: Credit: Khun Somboon, Ban Nong Mon


Astonishing photo 33

Water mirrors, Tannourine, northern Lebanon

No large-scale dams in northern Lebanon

Locals develop small-scale reservoirs to allow supllmentary irrigation

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Credit: Caroline Coulon


Astonishing photo 34

Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, UK

The aqueduct carries the Llangollen Canal across the valley of the River Dee

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Credit: Martin Clark  

Astonishing photo 35


Playing in water

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Credit: Pxfuel, Public Domain Dedication


Astonishing photo 36

Single-leg-rower, Lake Inle, Myanmar

Lake Inle is famous for its fishermen and their unique boating/fishing techniques

See the photo with original resolution

See also




Astonishing photo 37

Basin irrigation on steep slopes, Algeria

Basin irrigation of olive trees is common on the plains of Northern Africa. But how to water olive trees by gravity on steep slopes? Water is conducted through infiltration ponds constructed at the foot of each tree.

See the photo with original resolution and also  


Credit: Nabil Kherbache


Astonishing photo 38

Salt evaporation pans, Maras, Peru,_Peru

See the photo with original resolution
and other photos of Maras


Credit: Credit:


Astonishing photo 39

‘Black hole’, Chao Phraya River bank, Bangkok

Flash floods are a big problem in Bangkok, which has 40% of its area under sea level. Natural drainage through canals, even equipped with pumps stations at their extremity, is insufficient. Tunnels are being built underneath the canals to help convey excess flows to an outlet where vertical pumps will extract the water flow into the Chao Phraya River. The black colour of the water indicates that drainage water is mixed with sewage water, both being conveyed by the same canals.

See the photo with original resolution


Credit: François Molle


Astonishing photo 40

Indus - Zanskar river confluence, India

Clear waters encounter a silt-loaded river. There are several well known examples of such confluences, notably the Rio negro – Rio Amazonas confluence

See the photo with original resolution
see also


Credit: Satish Krishnamurthy; Flickr


Astonishing photo 41

Watering onions downstream of Bagré reservoir, Burkina Faso

Large local calabashes (gourds) are used as watering cans

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Credit: Jacques Lemoalle/IRD


Astonishing photo 42


Man fishing with a spear on a makeshift raft.

Banani urban Lake, Dhaka, Bangladesh

See the photo with original resolution


Credit: Benjamin Noury


Astonishing photo 43

Irrigated flower production in a flooded field, Sa Dec, Mekong Delta, Vietnam

Crop care is done on boats.

See the photo with original resolution


Credit: Quang Nguyen Vinh at Pexel


Astonishing photo 44

Spectacular dam spillway New York State, USA

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Credit: //">>


Astonishing photo 45

Basket-boats are quite common on the channels of the Mekong Delta

With a not-so-easy-to-master rowing technique!

The basket is tar-coated to make it waterproof

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Credit: WorldFish/Jamie Oliver


Astonishing photo 46

‘Pirogues’ on the Mekong River, Laos

These boats were made out of kerosene tanks dropped by B52 air planes during the Vietnam War

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Credit: Credit: Guillaume Lacombe/Cirad


Astonishing photo 47

Urban pool in Dubai

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Credit: Pixabay/zauber2001;


Astonishing photo 48

Children playing in irrigation canals, Morocco

This ‘duck bill weir’ structure in the Haouz, Marrakech, is taken advantage of by children to play in water

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Credit: François Molle/IRD


Astonishing photo 49

Oval-shaped ‘duck bill weir’

Conspicuous weir on a canal in Morocco

Also see another instance of such a weir at

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Credit: Thierry Ruf/IRD


Astonishing photo 50

Magnificent ‘stepwell’, Rajasthan

Chand Baori at Abhaneri (Dausa, Rajasthan), India

Also see

See the photo with original resolution


Credit: Chethan/Flickr