Image of painting by Lynn Parotti

Thirst i

Thirst I is a composite painting involved with the cost of supplying clean water. Comprised of 12 panels of etched aluminium representing 12 cities around the world, for the most part randomly chosen, it shows at least one city from every continent. Thirst I aims to give a basic overview of what it costs to supply 100 gallons of clean water to these particular societies based on 4,000 gallons of consumption in USD: the data source being Global Water Intelligence and The National Geographic in 2009. Behind every number there is a specific story and varying technologies involving pumping, desalination, purification, logistics, politics, taxes and availability. Places like San Diego, where the cost of getting clean water is quite high at $1.65, is contrasted with Copenhagen which astonishingly costs $3.43. Whereas in Dubai, where you might expect the cost to be quite high, it is just above average at $0.82. Nassau comes in as an average cost but much higher than Havana; whereas the cost to Ireland was nil up to 2015 when it became chargeable due to privatization. One big concern is the dependence and use of fossil water which cannot be replaced such as in areas as diverse as Arabia and the MidWest. The clock is ticking for these areas in the same way as other natural resources as the water supply from aquifers and reservoirs is rapidly diminishing.

“Water does not leave our planet whose surface is 71% covered by seas, and oceans. However, only 2.5% exists as freshwater mainly as ice or groundwater. The distribution for consumption, agriculture and industry is becoming increasingly problematical: too much in some places and not enough in others. As the population increases there is particularly more strain and stress on trying to get safe drinking water where it needs to be,” National Geographic, 2010.