More than 1 billion people lack access to potable water and more than 2.6 billion do not have adequate sanitation. The Woodrow Wilson Center's new photography exhibit, "Water Stories: A Focus on Mexico," co-sponsored by the Environmental Change and Security Program (ECSP) and the Mexico Institute in collaboration with Circle of Blue, offers a vivid glimpse of the lives that lie behind these statistics.

The exhibit features the work of Circle of Blue Director J. Carl Ganter, who chronicles water and sanitation challenges facing families in the Iztapalapa region of Mexico City, as well as that of World Press-winning photographer Brent Stirton, who documents how water shapes everyday life in the Tehuacán Valley southeast of Mexico City, as residents struggle to obtain enough clean water to meet their basic needs. In Mexico, as with many other places around the world, the quest for water consumes time, energy, and valuable resources. Understanding this human struggle is one step toward ameliorating the global water crisis.

Ganter and Stirton offered their remarks on the continuing importance of water and sanitation issues at the exhibit's October 11, 2007, opening reception. They were joined by ECSP Director Geoff Dabelko and Mexico Institute Director Andrew Selee, who commended Ganter and Stirton's efforts to increase the visibility of the global freshwater crisis—and spur action to address it.

The photography opening also served as the official launch for ECSP's newest publication, Water Stories: Expanding Opportunities in Small-Scale Water and Sanitation Projects, which features an essay and photographs by Ganter. Water Stories examines alternatives to large-scale infrastructure projects in the water and sanitation sectors.

For additional photographs and videos documenting the global freshwater crisis, visit the Water Stories multimedia site.

Drafted by Rachel Weisshaar.