“I really wanted to do something about the river we lost when I was a child.”

For the past seven years, Nabil Musa has been traveling — often on a paddleboard or in a raft — around the Kurdistan region of Iraq on a one-man mission to promote the importance of clean waterways for current and future generations.

Experts throughout the country fear that decades of war, pollution, uncharted development and damming mean a water crisis is imminent.

Musa is part of Waterkeepers Iraq, an NGO that advocates and works “to protect the rivers, streams and waterways of Iraq and support local communities in the sustainable use of these natural resources.” (Waterkeepers Iraq is affiliated with the international Waterkeeper Alliance.)

Toward the end of the video, Musa sums up the urgency at the heart of his work, asking, “If we don’t have this water how can we survive?” View Ensia homepage

Emily Kinskey, a documentary filmmaker and multimedia journalist currently based in Erbil, Iraq, produced this video. Her work focuses on underreported and persecuted subcultures, and is characterized by collaborative videography and innovative multimedia that assists oppressed communities in framing their narrative.