Vision, Mission and Objective



Relevance for global water scenario


Millennium Water Story (MWS) is an independent on-line information, education and communication initiative that focusses on water resources management in India. It is conceived, founded and managed by Nandita Singh and Om Prakash Singh.

The founders of MWS visualize water as a resource that is 'mother' of all life, environment and development. However, despite water’s centrality for human existence, it has come to face severe challenges in India in recent times. Projected impacts of climate change on water resources pose further threat to the already vulnerable situation. There is thus an urgent need to manage the water resources efficiently, effectively, and sustainably by making water everybody's business. This requires effective communication in order to increase awareness and sensitization amongst all stakeholders about the gravity of the problems and their potential solutions.

MWS is one such initiative in this direction. It intends to stimulate public dialogue in India through on-line exhibits of real-life situation from different parts of the country in the form of Photo Story on various dimensions of water resources management. In fact, MWS is the first of its kind in the world to communicate on different aspects of water resources management exclusively through photo stories. Over the years, MWS has emerged as the world’s largest collection of photo stories and biggest photo exhibition on water.

The photo stories published on MWS are developed using photographs selected from the huge water documentary repository of the co-founder Om Prakash Singh - the ‘King of Water Documentary’. Since its inception in 2016, MWS has come a long way, establishing itself as a model for effective water communication through photo stories. These photo stories have led to the creation of a huge ever-expanding wealth of visual evidence based knowledge on water resources management which helps inform, educate and sensitize a wide variety of water stakeholders.

Many of the water problems and issues presented in the photo stories exhibited on MWS also mirror the water scenario across other countries in South Asia and elsewhere in the Global South. Some of these water issues are even found in the Global North. This makes MWS an extremely relevant platform for sensitizing water stakeholders and stimulating appropriate action for sustainable water resources management even beyond India.


To have water-secure India through positive changes in attitude, behavior, policy and action in water resources management.


To raise water consciousness among different water stakeholders in India.


To inform, educate and communicate with different water stakeholders in India about various water issues, problems and prospects.



To achieve its objective, mission and vision, Millennium Water Story (MWS) adopts the strategy of using 'photo story' as an effective medium of communication. These water photo stories are exhibited from different Indian states across the length and breadth of the country.

The rationale for Photo Stories

MWS is driven by the core belief that photographs have the unique power to easily convey complex ideas across nationalities, cultures, languages, generations and genders without the need for translation or explanation. Also, since a picture is said to be 'worth a thousand words', it is possible to convey enormous details through a single photograph.

Further, since seeing is believing, a photograph can evoke strong emotional response. Social documentarians have used photographs since long to tell social, political and environmental stories, the public response and outcry over which have led to positive desirable changes.

Therefore, the founders of MWS are highly optimistic that meaningful in-depth photo stories would adequately inform, educate and sensitize different stakeholders in water resources management, which in turn would induce positive changes in attitude, behavior, policy and action, thereby leading to a water-secure India. MWS has full respect to the dignity of the subjects photographed and exhibited in the photo stories.

The approach for producing MWS Photo Stories

The MWS photo stories are the product of an innovative photo-based research methodology which starts with photo-documentation of real-life situations concerning water, accompanied by in-depth field-based research, leading to collection of objective visual data supplemented by non-visual subjective data. Both these datasets are later analyzed using a conceptual framework rooted in theories of integrated water resources management, sustainable development, human right to water, and gender. The photo-documentary works are solely produced by Om Prakash Singh while the research and analysis in general are carried out jointly by both the co-founders. Such an approach makes the photo stories published on MWS uniquely emphatic, and some of these are even the outcome of multi-disciplinary research projects.

The photo stories published on MWS are always visually represented through a series of photographs arranged under a common title. What is noteworthy is that not only do these photographs collectively convey a common message, but simultaneously, each photograph also presents its own narrative. Thus, each MWS photo story can be seen as a collective of multiple sub-photo stories, where each sub-story is represented through a single photograph.

Production and management of MWS platform and its content

MWS is produced and managed by its founders. This includes production of the photo stories and creation and maintenance of the dedicated website where these are published. Further, financing of all the activities of MWS is also managed by the founders themselves.



Millennium Water Story (MWS) is a demand-driven initiative that came into being on 26 January, 2016 as a result of several successful photographic exhibitions at different international forums by Om Prakash Singh on various water issues in India. The exhibitions evoked strong emotional response amongst the viewers, which in turn led to a huge demand from the international community to share the knowledge and resources with different stakeholders in the water sector across the world via the web. MWS stands dedicated to all those who motivated this unique, creative and challenging initiative.

The origin of the concept and content of MWS can be traced back to full-fledged photographic exhibitions on urban water challenges, climate change and water: human dimensions, and urban right to water and sanitation, exhibited by Om Prakash Singh at the World Water Week, Stockholm in 2008, 2009 and 2011 respectively. Also, his photographic exhibitions on human right to water in 2008, Yanadis' struggle for food in India in 2009, and Mahakumbh Snan: the great sacred bath of India in 2012, further strengthened the idea of MWS. These exhibitions travelled widely across Sweden and also to Belgium, France, Germany and Hungary.

The exhibition on climate change and water: human dimensions was also displayed at International Water Film Festival in Bangalore in 2009, and that on urban right to water and sanitation too was exhibited at the Global Forum on Sanitation and Hygiene organized by Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) of the United Nations at Mumbai in 2011. The exhibitions were also held at many educational institutions such as Stockholm University in Sweden, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Sweden and Jawaharlal Nehru University in India, to name only a few. The purpose was to help students, teachers and researchers to build an integrated understanding on water resources management.

The exhibitions were very well-received by the viewers at all the forums. They found these to be very illuminating and sensitizing. In fact, the exhibitions helped fill-in their knowledge gaps in the sector, motivating them to rethink about more realistic solutions. A good number of the viewers expressed the necessity of making the exhibitions available to the larger masses through the web.

This idea motivated Om Prakash Singh to launch an independent, on-line presentation of his photodocumentary works on water, and together with his wife Nandita Singh, MWS was founded. Since 2008, he has been working relentlessly to build a huge collection of photographic documentation, attempting to present a more complete and holistic perspective on water resources management in India, connecting with issues from real-life situations. From this collection, high quality compelling photo stories are being developed by the duo to be presented regularly on the MWS.




MWS has a distinct focus on India which is a vast country with significant diversity of geographical and climatic zones, ecosystems, agro-ecological regions, human cultures and waterscapes. It is also a fast-developing economy which brings significant stress on the country's water resources in terms of quality and quantity. At the same time, the country holds a significant reserve of traditional knowledge on water resources management, which offers a huge potential to promote sustainable and efficient use of the resource.

As a result, within a single country, India presents a vast array of water issues which are also very well representative of the global water scenario. At the same time, the diversity of traditional knowledge and solutions adopted in India have the potential of being applied at a global scale. Further, the MWS model of water communication based on photo stories has the immense potential of being replicated worldwide for informing, educating and sensitizing water stakeholders.



The MWS photo stories have led to the creation of a large, ever-expanding, visual evidence-based knowledge repository on water resources management which can be easily accessed anytime and anywhere as an online resource. Further, the use of photographs makes the content extremely user-friendly, being comprehensible to all transcending all barriers of language, culture, age or gender.

The wealth of integrated knowledge available on MWS continuously contributes to its objective by enhancing the awareness and sensitivity towards water-related issues, problems and prospects among a wide variety of water stakeholders. These include not only the general masses as water users, but also the specific actors that deal with policy, planning and action in the sector. The latter include politicians, planners, bureaucrats, civil society actors and other kinds of related professionals.

As an integrated knowledge repository on water resources management, the MWS content is also becoming increasingly popular as an educational resource among teachers and students in the fields of water and environmental studies. Being thoroughly research-based and presented using real-life photographs, the MWS photo stories are seen as extremely valuable, enabling virtual field-visit in the classroom. Similarly for researchers, published photo stories are being looked upon as useful reference material that also motivate further research.

Finally, the approach adopted by MWS for knowledge dissemination on water resources management through the innovative medium of photo stories now stands testified as a model for effective water communication. When MWS was started in 2016, the emphasis on use of photographs in water communication was inconspicuous. It is an achievement for MWS that since its inception, it has successfully inspired several water actors - Indian as well as global - to initiate water photo stories as an organized activity, and these are increasingly becoming a popular means of water communication.