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 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


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:

AP11Credit: 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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Credit: Nabil Kherbache


Astonishing photo 38

Salt evaporation pans, Maras, Peru,_Peru

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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.

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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

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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

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Credit: Benjamin Noury


Astonishing photo 43

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

Crop care is done on boats.

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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 a tributary (Nam Ngouang) of 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

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Credit: Chethan/Flickr


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

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Credit: Karen Conniff


Astonishing photo 52

Archimedean screws evacuating drainage water, Senegal River Delta, Senegal

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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.

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Credit : François Molle


Astonishing photo 54

How to re-use dripper line waste, Algeria

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Credit: Nassim Ait Mouheb/INRAe


Astonishing photo 55

Diversion canal in Alagoas, Brazil

New diversion canal to transfer water from the Sao Francisco River

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Credit/CODEVASF/Divulgação ;

Matheus Sandes / Seinfra - AL; and Alzir Lima


Astonishing photo 56

The Ivanhoe Reservoir filled with shade balls, USA

Black balls covering 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"

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Credit: By Junkyardsparkle - Own work, CC0,


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

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And other photos of wasabi


Credit: By lienyuan lee, CC BY 3.0,


Astonishing photo 58

Baobab cisterns

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)

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Credit: Pascal Danthu/Cirad 


Astonishing photo 59

Spillway of the Ataturk Dam, Turkey

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Credit: François Molle/IRD 


Astonishing photo 60

Pollution and foam in the Yamuna River, India

See more at




Astonishing photo 61

'Open bar' at fountain, Italy

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Credit: Pixabay

Astonishing photo 62

Jeans and water, London

Keep on consuming, at no cost to the earth

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Credit: Sophie Bradford

Astonishing photo 63

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.

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Credit: François Molle

Astonishing photo 64

Fire water, Namdapha Park Arunachal Praddesh, India

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Credit: Karen Conniff

With warm tribute to our friend David Molden who just retired after 10 years at ICIMOD

Astonishing photo 65

Dabab, Sinkhole, Oman

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Credit: Credit: Flickr/Hannah Jane

Astonishing photo 66

Falkirk Wheel, Scotland

A spectacular ‘boat-lift’ (See other photos On the web)

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Credit: Flickr/Matt Malone;


Astonishing photo 67

Morning glory pool, hot spring, Yellowstone, USA

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Credit: Tyler Bridges de Pixabay 
Astonishing photo 68

Monkeys enjoying hot water springs in winter, Japan

See more photos on the web

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Credit: Andrew Tan at

Astonishing photo 69

Houses on stilts, Xuan Thuy National Park, Vietnam

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Credit: Jean-Louis Janeau/IRD

Astonishing photo 70

Kerala (tourist) Boat house, Alleppey backwaters, India

See more Kerala boat houses on the web

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Astonishing photo 71

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.

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Credit: Thanawat Bremard


Astonishing photo 72

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!

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Credit: François Molle/IRD
Astonishing photo 73

Los Angeles aqueduct cascades, California, USA

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and more at


Credit: Chris 'Maven' Austin; see Mavens Notebook ( and

Astonishing photo 74

Duck rearing in Takeo Province, Cambodia

Pink ducks are coloured by their owners in order to recognize them.

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Credit: Jean-Philippe-Venot/IRD

Astonishing photo 75

Cluster of khettara (qanat) in Morocco

More photos of qanats on the web

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Credit: Thierry Ruf/IRD from

Astonishing photo 76

Water palace, Jaipur, India

The Jal Mahal is less well-known than the Taj Mahal but fascinating too

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Credit: Rod Waddington @Flickr

Astonishing photo 77

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:

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Credit: By Schmiebel - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
Astonishing photo 78

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 persons

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Marc Bournof//IRD
Astonishing photo 79

Cooling system for hot groundwater in Saharan desert, Tunisia

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Credit: IRD@Indigo / Deschamps, Pierre
Astonishing photo 80

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).

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Credit : ©IRD – Christian Leduc.
Astonishing photo 81

Kurumada circular rice field, Japan

Kurumada is the word meaning round rice field. This style of farming is now almost gone but used to be considered a way of planting a field to the gods. No manure or dirty water was permitted to be used on one of these fields.

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Astonishing photo 82

Traditional great fishing party, North Cameroon

A barrier of fish traps across the river; this photo has been taken in 1969

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And other photos of this event
Credit: Christian Leveque/IRD
Astonishing photo 83

Water and well being: elephant massage session in water in Pinnawala, Sri Lanka

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And our other photos of elephant blissfulness


Credit: Credit: Flickr/Dhammika Heenpella;

Astonishing photo 84

Thames barrier, panorama, UK

The Thames Barrier is a retractable barrier system that is designed to prevent the floodplain of most of Greater London from being flooded by exceptionally high tides and storm surges moving up from the North Sea. It has been operational since 1982.

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And other photos of the barrier


Credit: //">>

Astonishing photo 85

Loy Krathong festival, Lumphini Park, Bangkok, Thailand

Loi Krathong is a Siamese festival celebrated annually throughout the Kingdom of Thailand and in nearby countries with significant southwestern Tai cultures (Laos, Shan, Mon, Tanintharyi, Kelantan, Kedah and Xishuangbanna). The name could be translated as "to float ritual vessel or lamp," and comes from the tradition of making krathong or buoyant, decorated baskets, which are then floated on a river. Many Thais use the krathong to thank the Goddess of Water, the Hindu Goddess Ganga (river in Northern India), Phra Mae Khongkha. This festival can see the traces of its origin back to India.

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And other Loy Krathong photos


Credit: Fickr / Philip Hayward;

Astonishing photo 86

Astonishing photo 87

Tuhala whitch's well, Estonia

Tuhala Witch's Well (Estonian: Tuhala nõiakaev) is a karst spring in Kose Parish, Harju County, Estonia that overflows after heavy rains.

In Estonian folklore, it is said to be caused by witches lashing each other underground. In 2012 the Tuhala Witch's Well was voted as a "Wonder of Estonia"

Johan Sveningsson; Save the Tuhala karst area!

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Astonishing photo 88

Floating in the Dead Sea, Israel

With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2% (in 2011), it is one of the world's saltiest bodies of water – 9.6 times as salty as the ocean –

and has a density of 1.24 kg/litre, which makes swimming similar to floating

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Credit: Itamar Grinberg/Flickr

Astonishing photo 89

Fortified well, Motilla del Azuer, Spain

The "motillas" are fortified sites from the Bronze Age dating from the period between 2200 and 1500 B.C. They are specific to the area of La Mancha, where about twenty have been located. The Motilla del Azuer is the only one that can be visited. It is in Daimiel and is a complex construction with several walls, tortuous corridors and a large courtyard where a recently discovered and excavated well is located. Possibly it was a structure of refuge and defense, not prepared to be used as housing for long periods. The photo shows the well from the central tower.

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Astonishing photo 90

Hydraulic structure, near Takashima, Japan

The terminal reach of an irrigation canal (to the right) is connected through a pipe with the center of the pool.

The round shape of the pool maximizes the length of the spillway and therefore stabilizes the downstream water level in the canal.

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Credit: François Molle/IRD

Astonishing photo 91

Land subsidence and sinkholes around the Dead Sea, Israel

The drop in the Sea water level dewaters underground salt layers that dissolve and create land subsidence.

More than 4,000 sinkholes have formed since the 1980s within a 60-km-long and 1-km-wide strip along the western coast of the Dead Sea (DS) in Israel. (source)

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Credit: Wikimedia/By Mark Neyman / Government Press Office (Israel), CC BY-SA 3.0,;
Astonishing photo 92

Fisheries at Lake Awassa, Ethiopia

Pelicans, marabous and other birds wait for their share of fish...

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And other photos of fisheries in Lake Awassa


Credit: Christian Lévêque/IRD

Astonishing photo 93

Coracle made out of Yack skin, Tibet

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Astonishing photo 94

Conservation agriculture of vineyards, Lanzarote, Canary Islands

Water is harvested in funnels that direct water to the plant.

Stones protect the vine from the hot wind and also prevent erosion.

See other photos of vineyards in Lanzarote

Astonishing photo 95

Field of 'Ghosts' South San Joaquin Valley, California, USA

These pistachio or almonds young trees irrigated by drip lines have been protected from (presumably) the wind

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Credit: Chris 'Maven' Austin; see Mavens Notebook ( and

Astonishing photo 96

Crews corral debris for removal from behind the Lake Oroville flood control spillway gates, California

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Credit: DWR (Department of Water Resources), California;

Astonishing photo 97

Buffaloes’ Spa

Water buffaloes keeping cool in the river, Sri lanka

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Credit: François Molle/IRD

Astonishing photo 98

Chrisman Wind Gap & Grapevines, California, USA

The pumps in the distance are the Chrisman Wind Gap Pumps, which is the first major lift to get Central Valley’s water over the Tehachapis to Southern California (Los Angeles).

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Credit: Chris 'Maven' Austin; see Mavens Notebook ( and

Astonishing photo 99

Greenpeace Mexico campaign against water pollution, Jalisco, Mexico

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Greenpeace Mexico campaign against water pollution, World Water Day March 2012, El Salto, Juanacatlán, Jalisco

Astonishing photo 100

Stepwell, Prakasam, Andhra Pradesh, India

To celebrate the 100th photo of our ‘Astonishing waters’, here is one of the most outstanding baoli (stepwells) of India

Also see “Victoria Lautman Explores India’s Vanishing Stepwells”:

Astonishing photo 101

Children playing in a groundwater recharge shaft, despite the fence

Ulagapuram, India

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Credit: Audrey Richard

Astonishing photo 102

Hot springs and baths, Tolantongo, Mexico

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Astonishing photo 103

Group of protesters sprayed by water cannons in Taipei, Taiwan, 2014

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Credit: Credit: By MrWiki321 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Astonishing photo 104

Access pit, underground galleries of Cantalloc (called puquios), near Nazca, Peru

These precolombian galleries, similar to qanats, drain groundwater to a desired location.

Access pits serve to access water or for maintenance

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And more photos of puquios

Credit: Wikimedia, PsamatheM - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Astonishing photo 105

Pump station with polluted water, Nile Delta, Egypt

The tail end of Meet Yazid canal, Kafr el Sheikh governorate, Nile Delta, is supplied with drainage water diverted from the nearby Nashart Drain.

This drain is higly polluted and foam is generated by the station pumping this water.

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Credit: François Molle/IRD

Astonishing photo 106

A dilapidated ship located at the northeast of Lake Urmia, Iran
Lake Urmia is expected to follow the fate of the Aral Sea

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Credit: By Solmaz Daryani - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, 
Astonishing photo 107

Mussels farm, France

Shellfish farming in the Charente coastal area, France, is dependent on a level of salinity that results from the mixing of sea water (salinity 35 g/l) with fresh water from the rivers.

Not enough freshwater from rivers is detrimental to the growth of shellfish. Too much fresh water (sudden flows) reduces the salinity of the sea water and also impacts shellfish (mortality, loss of shellfish quality, health risks, etc). The quality of river water also matters.

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Credit: unplash/matt-seymour
Astonishing photo 108

Hyperintensive table grapes cultivation, Yecla, Segura Basin, Spain

Grapes is irrigated by drip with (overexploited) groundwater
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Credit: Javier Rodriguez Ros
Astonishing photo 109

Timkat festival in Gondar, Ethiopia

Every year, during the Timkat festival in Gondar, Ethiopia, orthodox christians gather around this basin and pray during two days. After praying all night people jump into the basin. Water is a sacred element linked to Jesus' baptism.

Timkat (Ge'ez: ጥምቀት) is an Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Eritrea Orthodox Tewahedo Church celebration of Epiphany. It is celebrated on January 19th (or 20th in a leap year), corresponding to the 11th day of Terr in the Ge'ez calendar.

Timkat celebrates the baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan. This festival is best known for its ritual reenactment of baptism (similar to such reenactments performed by numerous Christian the Holy Land when they visit the Jordan).

More at
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Credit: Bastien Massa
Astonishing photo 110

Member of Hai Zira community irrigating using the traditional shadduf, Sudan

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Credit: FAO/Mattia Romano 
Astonishing photo 111

Makeshift water wheel in Tajikistan

A local farmer uses the steady stream of an irrigation canal to lift some water to his field

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Credit: Romain Vidal
Astonishing photo 112

Liwa Oasis and the development of tourism, Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates

Groundwater, used for irrigation and domestic uses, is overexploited in the Liwa oasis

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Astonishing photo 113

Saturnia thermal baths, Italy

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Credit: Spencer Davis on Unsplash
Astonishing photo 114

Mud therapy in Lake Urmia, Iran

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Credit: Solmaz.Daryani
Astonishing photo 115

Ruins of Malpasset Barrage, France

In 1959 Malpasset dam broke and released 50 million cubic meters of water

Fil archive

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Astonishing photo 116

Jacob’s well, Texas

An extraordinary well-like perennial karstic spring in the Texas Hill Country that serves as a popular swimming pool

More details at

Other photos here

Astonishing photo 117

Cormorant fisherman, Yangshuo, China

To control the birds, the fishermen tie a snare near the base of the bird's throat. This prevents the birds from swallowing larger fish, which are held in their throat, but the birds can swallow smaller fish. When a cormorant has caught a fish in its throat, the fisherman brings the bird back to the boat and has the bird spit the fish up. Though cormorant fishing once was a successful industry, its primary use today is to serve the tourism industry.

Video :

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Credit: Rod Waddington/Flickr 
Astonishing photo 118
Credit: Chris 'Maven' Austin; see Mavens Notebook ( and
Astonishing photo 119

Brick making, Madagascar

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Credit: Andrew Whiting 

Astonishing photo 120

Little girl feeding fish for Buddhist merit making, Bangkok

The huge number of fish swarming in front of the temple is visible; and so is the inflow of wastewater into the Chao Phraya River, 200 m upstream, that leaves a white trail of foam.

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Credit: François Molle/IRD

Astonishing photo 121

Girl paddling and transporting lotus stems, Cambodia

Lotus stems are used in cooking

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Credit: Mario Keskinen, Alto University, Finland

Astonishing photo 122
Transforming a pick-up into a swimming pool, Djibouti

Credit: Idriss, Djibouti

Astonishing photo 123

Bamboo water-wheel, Ho-Chi-Minh City, Vietnam

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Credit: Pixabay
Astonishing photo 124

Distribution of water to refugees by UNAMID in Sortoni, North Darfur

Tens of thousands of newly displaced persons fled their villages due to the ongoing clashes between the government of Sudan forces and armed movements which began in mid-January 2016 in the Jebel Marra area, North Darfur have sought refuge in a safe zone adjacent to UNAMIDصs team site in Sortoni.

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Credit: Photos by Mohamad Almahady, UNAMID
Astonishing photo 125

Vav or Helical Step Well, Champaner, India

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Credit: Nandicmb — CC BY-SA 4.0,
Astonishing photo 126

'Running water' at home, India

Bamboo is frequently used as water pipes in rural areas

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Credit: India water Portal


Astonishing photo 127

Potholes/’marmites de géant’ in the Abime river, Jura, France

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Credit: François Molle/IRD


Astonishing photo 128

Building an underground dam, Chad

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Credit: Rémy Courcier/IRAM 
Astonishing photo 129

Commercial high tunnels in Santa Maria, CA, USA

High tunnels protect plants from severe weather and allow farmers to extend their growing seasons – growing earlier into the spring, later into the fall, and sometimes, year-round. And because high tunnels prevent direct rainfall from reaching plants, farmers can use precise tools like drip irrigation to efficiently deliver water and nutrients to plants. High tunnels also offer farmers a greater ability to control pests and can even protect plants from pollen and pesticide drift.

For more information about USDA and high tunnel systems, please see

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Credit: USDA Photo by Lance Cheung
Astonishing photo 130

Convergence point of three qanats (foggara), Algeria

Ouled said oasis, near Timimoun, Algeria. Three qanats with small flows converge here and their flows are divided by 'qasria' according to water rights. we can see that some right holders have rights in two or three of the qanats and recombine their shares in one outflow pipe.  The local name for qanat is 'foggara'.

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Credit: Idda Salem
Astonishing photo 131

Bridge over Laguna Garzón, Uruguay

This is the first bridge designed by architect Rafel Viñoly, who was also designer of the Jazz Lincoln Center in New York and Princeton University Stadium amongst numerous projects. It is iconic, unique in its circular design and ecological in its attention to the aquatic environment above, around and beneath it. Speed limits keep noise and pollution to a minimum and its height allows the continued safe passage of fish and fishing boats.

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Credit: Jimmy Baikovicius from Montevideo, Uruguay — Bridge (Puente) Laguna Garzón | 151227-6817-jikatu, CC BY-SA 2.0, 
Astonishing photo 132

Drip-irrigated vine grafts, near Carpentras, France

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Credit: Martin Laurenceau 
Astonishing photo 133

Tubewell and 'sprit' image, Karnataka, India

Is the image expected to chase ‘evil spirits’, protect the well, or the crop?

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Credit: Frédéric Landy

Astonishing photo 134

Tilapia breeding facility in Jitra, Malaysia

See also

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Credit: Credit: WorldFish/Photo Jens Peter Tang Dalsgaard
Astonishing photo 135

Vespasianus Titus Water Tunnel, excavated in the rock, Turkey;

The Vespasianus Titus Tunnel is an ancient water tunnel built for the city of Seleucia Pieria, the port of Antioch (modern Antakya), in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.[1]

It is located at the foot of the Nur Mountains, near the modern village of Çevlik, 7 km (4.3 mi) northwest of central Samandağ (the medieval port of Saint Symeon) and 35 km (22 mi) southwest of Antakya.

The tunnel is part of a water diversion system consisting of a dam, a short approach channel, the first tunnel section, a short intermediary channel, the second tunnel section and a long discharge channel.

The construction of the tunnel was ordered by the Roman emperor Vespasian (reigned 69–79 AD) to divert the floodwaters running down the mountain and threatening the harbor. It was built by digging the rocks using manpower only. The construction began under Vespasian and continued under his son Titus (r. 79–81 AD) and his successors. It was completed in the 2nd century under Antoninus Pius (r. 138–161). An inscription carved in rock at the entrance of the first tunnel section shows the names of Vespasianus and Titus, and another one at the discharge tunnel the name of Antoninus.

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Credit: Wikimedia

Astonishing photo 136

Old olive trees irrigated with circular dripper lines, Yecla, Segura Basin, Spain

Old olive trees have deep roots and need to be irrigated with higher flow; a line with several drippers is laid around the tree.

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Credit: François Molle/IRD

Astonishing photo 137

Sulavesi coastal area, Indonesia

Paddy fields at the time of land preparation and after sowing.

High daily rainfall keeps fresh water supply in paddies and the outflow from the river channels mostly controls salinity.

Freshwater is allowed into the plot at high tide and can be drained at low tide.

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Credit: Olivier Gilard
Astonishing photo 138

Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh

Bamboo production being floated down the river

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Astonishing photo 139

Pilgrims offerings and garbage in Ganges River, India

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Credit: Flickr/massimiliano sticca
Astonishing photo 140

Three generations of lifting devices in the Nile Delta, Egypt

This site was initially a saquia ring (iron water-wheel, right), later replaced by individual pumps (center), and recently equipped with a collective pump by the IIIMP project (with its trashrack and inlet).

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Credit: François Molle/IRD
Astonishing photo 141

Historical flooding north of Bangkok, Thailand

October 2011

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Credit: Cpl. Robert J. Maurer
Astonishing photo 142

Coconut husks being soaked with water for rope making in Thuruttu island, Varkala, Kerala, India

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Credit: Flickr@India water Portal
Astonishing photo 143

Cow drowned in an irrigation canal, Nile Delta, Egypt

Canals with steep slopes may prove to be fatal to animals

See another example in Canal de Gignac, near Montpellier

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Credit: François Molle/IRD      
Astonishing photo 144

Dumping sewage water from septic tanks, India

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Credit: Flickr@India water Portal


Astonishing photo 145

School children transportation on the Maroni, Apagui, Grandsanti, French Guyana

In some regions of the world like the Amazon basin, rivers serve as roads

Here in French Guyana, school children are taken by boat daily to their school

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Credit: Sophie Gonzales@IRD>

Astonishing photo 146

Hunger stone

A hunger stone (German: Hungerstein) is a type of hydrological landmark common in Central Europe. Hunger stones serve as famine memorials and warnings and were erected in Germany and in ethnic German settlements throughout Europe in the 15th through 19th centuries. These stones were embedded into a river during droughts to mark the water level as a warning to future generations that they will have to endure famine-related hardships if the water sinks to this level again.

See some other hunger stones:

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Credit: Public Domain,


Astonishing photo 147

'El Ojo' lake, Argentina

On the outskirts of Buenos Aires in Argentina, there is a mysterious circular island located in the Parana Delta which rotates on its own axis like a distant planet. Scientists believe that the unusual island—known in Argentina as “El Ojo” or “The Eye”—formed in 2003. There is not yet a scientific consensus about how the circular island formed, but there are countless wild theories which involve extraterrestrial life…

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Astonishing photo 148
Abandoned water park, Hue, Vietnam
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Astonishing photo 149

Spiral jetty, Great Salt Lake, USA

Spiral Jetty is an earthwork sculpture constructed in April 1970 that is considered to be the most important work of American sculptor Robert Smithson. Smithson documented the construction of the sculpture in a 32-minute color film also titled Spiral Jetty. It is built on the northeastern shore of the Great Salt Lake near Rozel Point in Utah entirely of mud, salt crystals, and basalt rocks.

See more photos of Spiral Jetty

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Astonishing photo 150

Terraced paddy fields, Sapa, Vietnam

Our 150th ‘Amazing waters’ photo shows a well-known spot with terraced paddy fields in Vietnam.

The question is: how can the plot on top of the mount be irrigated? The answer is provided by the small bamboo aqueduct that takes water to it …

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 Credit: Thanhhoa Tran at


Astonishing photo 151

Milky river, France

The Doron de Belleville is a river in Savoy (French Alps) that drains large formations of gypsum rocks. Gypsum dissolved in water turns rivers conspicuoulsly milky.

See the white Doron merging with a ‘black’ tributary

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Credit: François Molle
Astonishing photo 152

Gas bottle reused as a water partitioner for domestic water supply in a rural area of Kirghizstan

The 5 outlets have been drilled at the same level in the bottle, to ensure a degree of equity in distribution

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Credit: Marielle Montginoul

Astonishing photo 153

Fosse-Dionne karstic spring and wash-house, Tonnerre, France

La Fosse Dionne is one of the largest springs in France, situated in the center of the town of Tonnerre (Burgundy) at the base of a limestone plateau. The town was created around the spring. In 1758 the spring pool was converted into a lavoir with a semi-circular enclosure and a hierarchy of water channels. La Fosse Dionne's annual average flow is 200 liters/s (66 gallons per second). The cave above the spring has been explored to a depth of 200′ deep and a lateral displacement of 1,180′ within underground limestone faults and clay membranes. Exploration is now restricted since three divers have died.

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Credit: Pline — CC BY-SA 3.0, 


Astonishing photo 154

Conspicuous groundwater resurgence, Kirghizistan

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And the surrounding landscape


Credit: Jean-Daniel Rinaudo

Astonishing photo 155

Corporate bluewashing, UK

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Credit: Sophie Bradford

Astonishing photo 156

Montenegro's Water Tree

The Dinoša mulberry tree is a mulberry tree in the village of Dinoša, Montenegro, which gushes water from its trunk after heavy rainfall. It is thought that groundwater from a spring forces its way through a cavity in the tree. The phenomenon first occurred in the 1990s, and occurs once a year.

See more at:

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Astonishing photo 157

Dubai love lake

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And other photos of the lake


 By Ritvik S - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


Astonishing photo 158

Makeshift water pipe made of welded metal drums, Kyrgyzstan

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 Credit: Marielle Montginoul


Astonishing photo 159

Set of pumps at the end of a tertiary canal, Nile delta

This ‘pump sump’ is located at the tail end of a tertiary canal and sources water from a main drain.

Each individual pump has its engine and can pump water to the canal in a rotation.

This compensates for the insufficient supply on the opposite side (canal inlet)

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Credit: François Molle


Astonishing photo 160

Fish farmer transporting a saquia to a workshop, Nile Delta.

Metal saquias are still used to lift water to fishponds because of their high discharge

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Credit: François Molle


Astonishing photo 161

Underwater hockey

Underwater hockey (UWH), (also known as Octopush in the United Kingdom) is a globally played limited-contact sport in which two teams compete to manoeuvre a puck across the bottom of a swimming pool into the opposing team's goal by propelling it with a hockey stick (or pusher). A key challenge of the game is that players are not able to use breathing devices such as scuba gear whilst playing, they must hold their breath.

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Credit: Frédéric Gelot


Astonishing photo 162

Sinkhole in Puebla, Mexico

This spectacular sinkhole, which appeared in 2021, is due to groundwater overabstraction and is a symbol of Mexico's water woes



Astonishing photo 163

Giant ice carousel

A round-shape chunk of frozen ice is cut and set in motion

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And other carousels;



Astonishing photo 164

Magnificent braided river, New Zealand





Astonishing photo 165

"Careos" in Spain, sowing and harvesting water

Moors in Granada Spain, developed a technique consisting in conveying and spreading water over the landscape in order to recharge aquifers and benefit from baseflow during the dry season.

This is similar to the amunas found in Peru.




Astonishing photo 166

Pancuran Tujuh (Seven Springs) in Banyumas, Central Java, Indonesia

The hot spring and its sulfuric waters are considered to have healing properties

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Credit: Wikimedia/By Crisco 1492 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,


Astonishing photo 167


Water wheel, Red River Basin, Vietnam. Late 1990s.

This homemade water wheel is moved by the flow in the irrigation canal and lifts water up to the paddy fields.

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Credit: François Molle


Astonishing photo 168

Garbage accumulating at the end of a branch canal, Nile Delta, Egypt

The limited solid waste collection in the delta implies that much of it ends up in waterways

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Credit: François Molle


Astonishing photo 169

Mobile pumping operators in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam

The Mekong Delta is crisscrossed with waterways.

In the upper part of the delta, large poldered areas have intensified and need extra input of water. They resort to mobile private operators on boat who provide high-discharge pumping services at the point required.

Late 1990s.

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Credit: François Molle


Astonishing photo 170

Siphons on El Bustan canal, Nile delta, Egypt

Al Bustan Canal branches off Nubaria Canal on the western side of the Nile Delta. It irrigates so called 'new lands'.

The picture shows siphons laid by farmers to divert water to non-command areas on both sides of the canal.

Although visible to all, these siphons are illegal…

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Credit: François Molle


Astonishing photo 171

Water drum festival

Miao people perform the Shuigu (water drum) Dance in the water in Jianhe county, Southwest China's Guizhou province

Folklorized version (video): People perform the Shuigu (water drum) Dance in the water in Jianhe county, Southwest China's Guizhou province, perform Shuigu Dance during a local cultural festival 




Astonishing photo 172

Fort Worth Water Gardens, Texas, USA

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Credit: Bradi Korte, 


Astonishing photo 173

Levada nova, Madeira

The island of Madeira is known for its ancient irrigation systems.

Here the canal (covered with concrete plates) follows the contour line and is excavated in the rock.

It intersects a cascade

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Credit: Andrew Walker @Flickr


Astonishing photo 174

Swallowing wells, Ghardaia, Algeria

In Ghardaia oasis some 'swallowing wells' are equipped with inlets: if the flood depth in the valley is higher than 30 cm, then it will enter the inlet and recharge the well and the aquifer.

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Credit: M Amine Saidani


Astonishing photo 175

Kiyal, Algeria

In Tittaf oasis, near Adrar, Algeria, this water master ('kiyal') is showing the instrument used to measure and apportion flows in oases, locally called 'shiqfa'.

the cumulated discharge of given sets of holes are allocated to corresponding distribution canals, according to water rights:

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Credit: Idda Salem 

Astonishing photo 176

The solar-canal solution, tested in California.

About 4,000 miles of canals transport water to some 35 million Californians and 5.7 million acres of farmland across the state. As we explained in a 2021 study, covering these canals with solar panels would reduce evaporation of precious water – one of California’s most critical resources – and help meet the state’s renewable energy goals, while also saving money




Astonishing photo 177

Water pipe made out of wood, Bolivia

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Credit: Pierre Chevallier


Astonishing photo 178

Restaurant on the Kibune River, near Kyoto, Japan

The Kibune River, north of Kyoto, if famous for its restaurants built on the river bed in order to enjoy a cool atmosphere.

This idea can also be found in other countries, such as Kyrgyzstan

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Credit: Wikimedia


Astonishing photo 179

Fog collectors in the Cumbre Nueva, La Palma, Spain

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Credit: Credit: Wikipedia  


Astonishing photo 180

Offerings for good waters, India

At the mercy of sudden dam releases, the people of the Ramganga continue to pray to the river for a suitable harvest

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 Credit: Flickr@India water Portal 

Astonishing photo 181

Priests sit inside water barrels as they perform special prayers in order to appease Varun, the Hindu rain god

in Sankara mutt at Matunga in Mumbai, India



Astonishing photo 182

Water as protection

Gravensteen, a medieval castle that dates back to 1180 which was subsequently re-purposed as a court, prison,
mint, cotton factory and now a museum located in the historic city center of Ghent, East Flanders, Belgium.



Astonishing photo 183

The spring of Armentières and its protection

Half of the water supplied to Paris comes from springs.

The spring of Armentières was developed between 1861 and 1867 by the engineer Eugène Belgrand at the request of the prefect Haussmann who wanted to tap healthy and pure water for Paris.

The water takes three days to reach Paris through a 156 km long aqueduct.




Astonishing photo 184

Helical Stepwell, Maharashtra, India

Unique "Helical Stepwell" in Walur Village, Selu Taluka in Parbhani District of Maharashtra (India) with Spiral Steps from 8 Sides leading to the Well Shaft and 8 Devakoshta (Niches) above the steps.
A massive cleanliness drive was recently done by locals of Walur Village to bring this Stepwell to Glory.


Credit: Rohan Kale Ji,


Astonishing photo 185

Piping drainage water to the desert, Egypt

Egypt is claiming to be building the “largest artificial river in the world”, a 114 km long canal-cum-pipe system conveying drainage water from Alexandria to a wastewater treatment plant located to the west of the delta.

The project is expected to cost 5 billion euros and its waters to contribute, together with groundwater, to the irrigation of around one million ha in the desert, the so-called ‘New delta” project.




Astonishing photo 186

Rendering of a planned (and contested) fish-pass, California, USA



Astonishing photo 187

Ma’dan (Marsh Arabs) reed houses, Iraq

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Credit: Corbis: Nik Wheeler


Astonishing photo 188

Free-lunch at pipe leakage, Cambodia

This pipe leakage in Phnom Penh was readily used by locals as a temporary car wash.

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Credit: Sylvain Massuel


Astonishing photo 189

Old Pottery pipes, Mesopotamia

British archaeologist Leonard Woolley and his wife Katharine in front of pottery pipes that were part of what's considered the first water drainage system in history (pre 4000 bc) in the ancient  Mesopotamian city of Ur. 1930.

“Katharine Woolley was an archaeologist, like her husband, and shared with him the work of excavation at Ur of the Chaldees, at Al Mina, on the North Syrian coast, and at Atchana (Alalakh), in the Hatay, until the outbreak of war. She was jointly responsible with him for the report published in 1939 on the Archaeological Survey of India. From 1943 onwards, when he was appointed archaeological adviser to the War Office, she was his assistant. In spite of illness, constant pain, and growing weakness, she carried on her work there until two days before her death, which came on November 8. Men and women of many Eastern European countries, refugees after the last war, have reason to remember her sympathy and her vitality. To none will she always be so alive as to the Arab diggers with whom she worked for 15 years." quoted from Wikipedia



Astonishing photo 190

Dye tracer test in Vieille Folle cave, France

Dye is added to water to study the underground circulation and pathways of water in karst systems.

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Credit: Aurélien Vallet


Astonishing photo 191

Creux-Billard, Karst features at Nans-sous-Sainte-Anne, France

This fascinating site includes a cascade from a stream and a karstic spring, which both feed  an aven (sinkhole) where water goes underground again before reemerging further downstream as the spring of the Lison River. It is a textbook illustration of the multiple circulations between surface an groundwater.

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Astonishing photo 192

Washing dye out after work, India

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Credit: Flickr@India water Portal/Supriya Biswas


Astonishing photo 193

Samacha Kewa festival floating altars in irrigation canals, Nepal

During Samachakewa, a popular festival of Tharu people in Nepal, altars are realeased in rivers but also in irrigation canals.


Credit: Olivia Aubriot


Astonishing photo 194

Rainwater harvesting by roofs in Bermuda

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Credits: Acroterion,


Astonishing photo 195

Roman dam, Syria

Dating back to the 1st or 2nd century is dam is located on the road from Damascus to Palmyra

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Credit: Pierre Chevallier


Astonishing photo 196

The Mitchell River silt jetties, Victoria, Australia

The Mitchell River silt jetties are an unusually long, thin landform in the Gippsland Lakes region in Victoria, Australia. A type of digitate delta, they have been formed over thousands of years by sediment deposition from the Mitchell River during periods of low water flow and subsequent wash-through during periods of high water flow. The long narrow banks of silt thus formed extend more than eight kilometres east into Lake King. The south bank is navigable by car from Eagle Point through to the very easternmost tip at Point Dawson.




Astonishing photo 197

Craig-Goch Dam spilling, Wales, UK

The Craig Goch Dam, often called the Top dam, is a masonry dam in the Elan Valley of Wales and creates the upper-most of the Elan Valley Reservoirs.

Construction on the dam began in 1897, and it was completed in 1904.

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Credit: Public Domain (Pxfuel)


Astonishing photo 198

Guelta of Timia, Niger

A guelta (Arabic: قلتة, also transliterated qalta or galta; Berber: agelmam) is a pocket of water that forms in drainage canals or wadis in the Sahara. The size and duration will depend on the location and conditions. It may last year-round through the dry season if fed by a source such as a spring. When a river (wadi) dries up, there may be pockets of water remaining along its course (c.f. oxbow lake).

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Credit: Wikipedia


Astonishing photo 199

Water Mill in Balkh System, Afghanistan

This ‘battery’ of hydraulic mills is reminiscent of another famous milling complex from Roman times: the Barbegal milling complex (‘la plus grande meunerie de l’antiquité’), near Arles, France, with two sets of 8 vertical mills.,_Mus%C3%A9e_de_l'Arles_antique_(15022060149).jpg;


Credit: Source lost


Astonishing photo 200

Cenote Ik Kil in Yucatan, Mexico

A cenote is a natural pit, or sinkhole, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater. The term originated on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico, where cenotes were commonly used for water supplies by the ancient Maya, and occasionally for sacrificial offerings. The term derives from a word used by the lowland Yucatec Maya—tsʼonoʼot—to refer to any location with accessible groundwater. More on

More fascinating cenotes in Yucatan:

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Credit: Boris G @Flickr