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Aquarium Displays National Geographic Photography Exhibition Depicting Water Around the World

Exhibition organized by the Annenberg Foundation captures global water scarcity struggles and humans’ spiritual relationship with water.

King River Snaking Through Mudflats

Brown with sediment loosed by seasonal rains, Australia’s King River snakes through the coastal mudflats of the Kimberley, a remote northwestern region. In the dry months of May to September, the 76-mile meander lies bare. Theo Allofs, CorbisAustralia, 2006

September 21, 2015, Long Beach, CA—Amidst the drought, the Aquarium of the Pacific will host an exhibition of photographs exploring water scarcity and humans’ relationship with water in regions around the world. Opening on October 7 at the Aquarium, Water: Our Thirsty World features images captured by photographers for National Geographic magazine. The photos examine water as a precious natural resource and document how water scarcity affects threatened and endangered species, agriculture, and people, particularly those living in developing nations. It also focuses on the spiritual relationship with water in cultures around the world. The exhibition will be on view at the Aquarium until February 15, 2016.

The exhibition was organized by the Annenberg Foundation in Los Angeles in partnership with National Geographic. In addition to the exhibition, the Aquarium will hold a live webcast on October 7 at 10:00 a.m. PST with experts to discuss current local and global water issues. The public can tune in live on the Aquarium’s website and ask questions via email and Twitter using the hashtag #aopwater. Members of the media are also invited to attend the webcast in person and interview experts starting at 9:30 a.m. in the Aquarium’s Ocean Science Center. This space houses a six-foot-diameter globe that can show National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA satellite data and other information visually in near-real time.

“At the Aquarium, we want to familiarize our visitors with global environmental issues and inspire them to think about their own reliance on natural resources like freshwater. The remarkable photographs in this exhibition give visitors a new entry point into the issue of water scarcity and may cause them to think differently about our relationship with nature,” Aquarium President and CEO Dr. Jerry Schubel said.

Imagery by a selection of National Geographic photographers examines the local and global challenges of our planet’s dwindling freshwater resources grouped into six major themes. These include “Sacred Waters,” looking at humankind’s inspirational relationship with water and celebrating how precious this resource is to all life on the planet; “The Big Melt,” examining the environmental challenges of Tibet’s freshwater resource; “Parting the Waters,” showing how countries are working together to adapt to the drastic reduction in water levels in the Jordan River basin; “The Burden of Thirst,” presenting issues facing African women and children who are responsible for delivering the freshwater needs for their families; “California’s Pipe Dream,” surveying California’s vast water infrastructure, thirsty crops, rampant development, and threats to the fragile Sacramento Delta; and “Silent Streams,” looking at the challenges facing freshwater species and how scientists hope to save them.

“We were thrilled to partner with National Geographic and their renowned photographers to shine a light on the subject of freshwater—the essence of life itself. Water demonstrates the power of photography to educate and inspire people to preserve the world around us, and we’re pleased to share it with the Aquarium’s visitors,” said Patricia Lanza, director of Talent & Content for the Annenberg Space for Photography.

Water: Our Thirsty World is the second exhibition of photographs from the Annenberg Space for Photography to be displayed at the Aquarium. Sink or Swim: Designing for a Sea Change, an exhibition of photographs documenting human responses to sea level rise, was on display in the Aquarium’s Great Hall from June 1 to September 15, 2015. Water was on view at the Annenberg Space for Photography in 2010 and was based on National Geographic’s April 2010 issue on freshwater.

In addition to the exhibition, the Aquarium will feature a lecture series with scientists and other experts that will examine water scarcity in California and around the world. The first will be held on October 7 with Kevin Wattier, former general manager of the Long Beach Water Department. He will discuss establishing a permanent culture of water conservation in Southern California.

The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific is a community gathering place where diverse cultures and the arts are celebrated and where important challenges facing our planet are explored by scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders in search of sustainable solutions. The Aquarium is dedicated to conserving and building nature and nature’s services by building the interactions between and among peoples. Home to more than 11,000 animals, Aquarium exhibits include the June Keyes Penguin Habitat, Ocean Science Center, Molina Animal Care Center, the interactive Shark Lagoon and Lorikeet Forest exhibits, and the new Jellies exhibits. Beyond its animal exhibits, the Aquarium offers educational programs for people of all ages, from hands-on activities to lectures by leading scientists. The Aquarium has won a 2015 Travelers’ Choice Award for Aquariums, as awarded by TripAdvisor® travelers. The Aquarium offers memberships with unlimited FREE admission for 12 months, VIP Entrance, and other special benefits. For more information, visit or call 562-590-3100.