00:00 / 00:00

Joel RedmanThe photographer on the growing problem of world drought


WeTransfer’s Union of Concerned Photographers uses the power of photography to underline the urgency of environmental concerns.

We are running out of water. In the past 25 years, the amount of fresh water per person has gone down by 26%.

Almost all of us take water for granted. But around the world, from Melbourne to Mexico City, cities are worried about the taps running dry. Nowhere is the problem more serious than in Cape Town, where authorities have been warning for months about Day Zero – the day when the city’s water runs out.

British photographer Joel Redman went to South Africa to document the tension of a city where time is running out.

Portraits of people collecting water at the Newlands Spring in Cape Town

1 of 8

As part of his project, Joel photographed the six main dams that provide Cape Town with its water. These dams were pivotal as the city's officials warned of Day Zero, which would be triggered when the water levels in the dams hit 13,5%.

Shot from the air, these parched landscapes show just how serious Cape Town's problem is.

Theewaterskloof Dam, Cape Town, South Africa.

Charred landscape, Sir Lowry's Pass, Cape Town, South Africa. Wild fires have been much more common during the recent drought in Cape Town. March 2018.

This piece is part of the Union of Concerned Photographers. Explore the next story or visit the Union homepage.