In the images of Paolo Gotti's 2023 photo calendar, a warning to protect global water resources

Its strength and vigour lie in its humility: 'Nothing in the world is as gentle and flexible as water. Yet when it attacks something hard or resisting, then nothing can resist it and nothing will alter its course,' teaches Lao Tzu (founder of Taoism in the 5th century BC) in the Tao Te Ching. A symbol of purity and regeneration, water has no form, it is capable of mutating, adapting to circumstances, circumventing the obstacles it encounters, from its source and all the way to the sea, in a process of continuous transformation. It is so light that it is impossible to grasp it with one hand: if you hit it, you cannot hurt it; cut it and it will not be hurt, separate it but it will not divide.

Protecting water resources

From the waterfalls of Iceland to the murky waters of the Niger River, via the geothermal power plants of Northern Europe to the floating markets of Thailand, for his calendar 2023, Water. The future of the planet, Bolognese photographer Paolo Gotti has selected some iconic shots from his archive to illustrate one of the crucial themes of contemporary times: the protection of water, a precious resource that covers about 70% of the planet's surface.

Origin of life

Water is the origin of life, an indispensable element for every living being but a limited resource to be preserved: fresh water accounts for only 2.5% of the total water on Earth, most of it stored in what remains of glaciers and snowfields. Very little remains in rivers, lakes, groundwater and the atmosphere, while consumption continues to increase as the world's population grows. It is estimated that, in the last century, water consumption has more than doubled compared to population growth rates, partly because many economic activities depend on water.

Water is democracy

'Water is democracy' argued Nelson Mandela. It is not surprising that the majority of the world's population does not have access to adequate water resources. Globally, there are 3.2 billion people affected by water scarcity, 1.2 billion in an extreme manner. In some countries, the average distance travelled each day to get it is about six kilometres on foot, with an average load of 20 kilos on their shoulders on the return journey.

A photographic investigation

Between nature and humanity, Paolo Gotti's photographs investigate the importance of water for human life and for all species on the planet, for biodiversity and for ecosystems: the images document the extraordinary power with which it manifests itself in uncontaminated landscapes, but also its exploitation by man and the inequalities that characterise Third World countries.