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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_well_(condenser)#/media/File:Puits_aerien_knappen_trans_83_00.jpg
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 water be sourced 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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/48357951542/in/dateposted/
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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_well_(condenser). 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 : https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fichier:Puits_aerien_Knappen.jpg
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.
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.
Credit photo: Surachit Chirawet
Astonishing photo 6
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 : https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/45450597871/
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/40773128405
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49038145303/in/photostream/
Credit : Eliott MM
Astonishing photo 11
Ladybower reservoir plug hole (spillway), UK
Full resolution original: https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/46970323874/
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
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: https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/48693918106/
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.
Credit : François Molle
Astonishing photo 15
Dividing groundwater between users, Yemen
Each right holder has a distinct pipe.
Original photo at : https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/38345251985/
Credit : Frank van Steenbergen
Astonishing photo 16
Irrigated terraces along steep wadi, Yemen
Credit: Jochen Regner
Astonishing photo 17
Collecting lotus flowers in a flooded field, Central Thailand
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.
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 www.flickr.com/photos/adam_jones/albums
Astonishing photo 20
Enjoying curative mineral waters, Madagascar
Credit: Rod Waddington; see Rod's amazing collection at www.flickr.com/photos/rod_waddington
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/43993334710/
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/36450196553/
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/30743147047/
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. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=36041
Astonishing photo 25
Huacachina oasis, Ica, Peru
See original resolution at https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/45760376022/
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 - www.hydroreform.org see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taum_Sauk_Hydroelectric_Power_Station
And original resolution at https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/44845821054/
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/38612487830/
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/42557203711/
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/44536694935/
Credit: François Molle, IRD (and thanks to Dr Satoh)
Astonishing photo 30
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/38588325590/
Credit: François Molle, IRD
Astonishing photo 31
Seat to cool-down along Karkorum Highway, Pakistan
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49013401483/
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/48611339917/
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
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/48635835231/
Credit: Caroline Coulon
Astonishing photo 34
Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, UK
The aqueduct carries the Llangollen Canal across the valley of the River Dee
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/45502702884/
Credit: Martin Clark https://commons.wikimedia.org/
Astonishing photo 35
Playing in water
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49616940023/
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/40792867873
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49174440492 and also https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49174440607/
Credit: Nabil Kherbache
Astonishing photo 38
Salt evaporation pans, Maras, Peru
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/47706740792/
and other photos of Maras https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=143925215%40N04&view_all=1&text=maras%20salt
Credit: Credit: pixabay.com/fr/users/jdbenthien-2698911/
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/42557204051
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/31418262348
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49152667678
see also https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/40760094445
Credit: Satish Krishnamurthy; Flickr
Astonishing photo 41
Watering onions downstream of Bagré reservoir, Burkina Faso
Large local calabashes (gourds) are used as watering cans
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/37625723256/
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/27701753099/
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49660897398/
Credit: Quang Nguyen Vinh at Pexel
Astonishing photo 44
Spectacular dam spillway New York State, USA
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49008530271/
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
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/38905671462/
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
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/48827410106/
Credit: Credit: Guillaume Lacombe/Cirad
Astonishing photo 47
Urban pool in Dubai
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/45215624615/
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
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/27617960155/
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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/43477235480/
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/27617960155
Credit: Thierry Ruf/IRD
Astonishing photo 50
Magnificent ‘stepwell’, Rajasthan
Chand Baori at Abhaneri (Dausa, Rajasthan), India
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/31954010838/
Astonishing photo 51
Loktak Lake, floating fisheries in Manipur, India
"Phumdis are a series of floating islands, exclusive to the Loktak Lake in Manipur state, in northeastern India. They cover a substantial part of the lake area and are heterogeneous masses of vegetation, soil and organic matter, in different stages of decay (...) Phumdis are used by the local people for constructing their huts for fishing and other livelihood uses, and are inhabited by about 4000 people. Athapums are artificial circular phumdis, built by the villagers as enclosures for fish farming; aquaculture has caused proliferation of the phumdis in the lake". (Wikipedia) see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phumdi
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/39843940100/
Credit: Karen Conniff
Astonishing photo 52
Archimedean screws evacuating drainage water, Senegal River Delta, Senegal
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/38612490740/
Credit: Credit: Jean-Yves Jamin/Cirad
Astonishing photo 53
Canal des Moines, Corrèze, France
Irrigation canal constructed by monks in the XIIth century and now renovated. The canal is either dug in or stuck to the cliff.
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/45451357551/
Credit : François Molle
Astonishing photo 54
How to re-use dripper line waste, Algeria
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49153279242/
Credit: Nassim Ait Mouheb/INRAe
Astonishing photo 55
Diversion canal in Alagoas, Brazil
New diversion canal to transfer water from the Sao Francisco River
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/31260631647/
Credit/CODEVASF/Divulgação ; www.flickr.com/photos/codevasf
Matheus Sandes / Seinfra - AL; and Alzir Lima
Astonishing photo 56
The Ivanhoe Reservoir filled with shade balls, USA
Black balls covering LA reservoir: https://www.sciencealert.com/here-s-what-s-really-going-on-with-those-black-balls-in-the-la-reservoir
"Yet despite their reputation for saving water, these balls were not put here just to reduce evaporation. The problem actually started with bromide, a natural substance found in salt water.
Bromide on its own is harmless to humans, but if some of this salty water creeps into the reservoir and undergoes ozone treatment with the rest of LA's drinking water, it can form the compound bromate. And bromate is a carcinogen".
"Originally called "bird balls", the solution was both odd and oddly perfect. Typically used around airports to stop birds from perching in nearby water, the black balls also turned out to be highly effective at keeping out sunlight"
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/50534073686/
Astonishing photo 57
Wasabi fields, Japan
Wasabi is a rhizome that grows during 15 months in streambeds with the purest running water
It is very difficult to find appropriate sites and only two major ones can be found in Japan
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/50534224052/
And other photos of wasabi https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=143925215%40N04&view_all=1&text=wasabi
Credit: By lienyuan lee, CC BY 3.0, commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=54464514
Astonishing photo 58
On the Mahafaly plateau, Madagascar, people carve baobabs to use them as cisterns to store excess water in the rainy season an use it in the dry season.
They can contain up to 9 m3 of water.
See documentary (in French) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1JVIn5urKc8&list=PLBZ3LrHoN5qxO8bThoeONKmBbUhg0rTho&index=10
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/50534239431/
Credit: Pascal Danthu/Cirad
Astonishing photo 59
Spillway of the Ataturk Dam, Turkey
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/37034645333/in/photostream/
Credit: François Molle/IRD
Astonishing photo 60
Pollution and foam in the Yamuna River, India
'Open bar' at fountain, Italy
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/33882494038/in/photostream/
Jeans and water, London
Keep on consuming, at no cost to the earth
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/50533496483/
Credit: Sophie Bradford
Small water-wheels on village canal, Kurama, North of Kyoto, Japan
These communal diversion weir and canal are made use of to generate electricity for domestic use.
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/50338585622/
Credit: François Molle
Fire water, Namdapha Park Arunachal Praddesh, India
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49013929806/
Credit: Karen Conniff
With warm tribute to our friend David Molden who just retired after 10 years at ICIMOD
Dabab, Sinkhole, Oman
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/47873895821/
Credit: Credit: Flickr/Hannah Jane
Falkirk Wheel, Scotland
A spectacular ‘boat-lift’ (See other photos On the web)
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/32041249738/
Credit: Flickr/Matt Malone;
Morning glory pool, hot spring, Yellowstone, USA
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/50792663942/
Monkeys enjoying hot water springs in winter, Japan
See more photos on the web
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/50792710692/
Credit: Andrew Tan at pixabay.com
Houses on stilts, Xuan Thuy National Park, Vietnam
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/50459141926/
Credit: Jean-Louis Janeau/IRD indigo.ird.fr/fr
Kerala (tourist) Boat house, Alleppey backwaters, India
See more Kerala boat houses on the web
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49153306602/
Draining water over the highways, Chao Phraya Delta, Thailand
Main canals draining the Chao Phraya Delta towards the sea intersect roads.
In general bridges are built over (older) canals but in this case (a new canal over old roads) the opposite solution has been implemented.
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/50750428668/
Credit: Thanawat Bremard
Lucky pond in Gingaku-ji (silver) temple, Kyoto, Japan
If you can throw a coin onto the flat stone in the middle, you'll have good luck!
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/45399803812/
Credit: François Molle/IRD
Los Angeles aqueduct cascades, California, USA
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/30515024907/
and more at https://mavensphotoblog.com/2013/11/08/the-la-aqueduct-cascades-a-rare-opportunity-to-step-inside-the-facility/
Duck rearing in Takeo Province, Cambodia
Pink ducks are coloured by their owners in order to recognize them.
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/43632810300/
Cluster of khettara (qanat) in Morocco
More photos of qanats on the web
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49587269416/
Credit: Thierry Ruf/IRD from www.indigo.ird.fr
Water palace, Jaipur, India
The Jal Mahal is less well-known than the Taj Mahal but fascinating too
See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/50740945191/
Credit: Rod Waddington @Flickr
Stone beaver dam
Beavers use rocks for their dams when mud and branches are less available, as seen on Bear Creek, a tributary to the Truckee River, in Alpine Meadows, California.
But they of course also use trees: https://www.flickr.com/search/?user_id=143925215%40N04&view_all=1&text=beaversSee the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/50962532671/
Scooping water in the Red River Delta, near Hanoi
Various scooping devices are/were used in Asia to lift water over small heights.
This device requires the coordinated movements of two highly skilled personsSee the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/50334995672/in/photostream/
Cooling system for hot groundwater in Saharan desert, TunisiaSee the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/51008820697/
The magical flood, Niger
The annual flood of Komadougou Yobé near Diffa (in 1990). Children accompany it and run ahead of it.
An old woman collects the first foam and keeps it in a plastic bag (Leduc).See the photo with original resolution https://www.flickr.com/photos/water_alternatives/49437901428/