The real price of water


Tim Webster

How far would you walk for clean water?

Our award-winning social experiment video confronted passers-by with the reality of water scarcity in Somalia.


Access to clean water in Somalia is precarious. Exacerbated by conflict, drought and displacement, children can walk upto 50km a day to find water.

Often the only water available is contaminated with water-borne diseases like typhoid and cholera. Without adequate medical aid, cholera can kill a severely malnourished child in a matter of hours.

Over 26 million views on Facebook.

The project

On a summer’s day, we sold water to passers-by but there was a catch. Those who wanted a bottle couldn’t dig into their purses for change. The only way to pay was in kilometres.

With ‘prices’ ranging from 2km to 50km, only a few members of the public accepted our terms. Walking on a treadmill to pay their debt, each step echoed the steps that Somali children take each day to fetch water.

Journeys complete, our participants eagerly drank their purchases. Had they looked at the ingredients first, they would have seen that the bottles ‘contained’ infectious diseases like cholera, polio and typhoid, commonplace in the water collected throughout Somalia. Few took more gulps.

What had begun as an everyday transaction was transformed into a striking exercise in empathy.

Gold winner at the Lovies 2018.


The Real Price of Water went viral, winning two awards at the Lovies and gaining over 26 million views worldwide.