ISTP2, United Arab Emirates
Stéphane Lavoué arrived one find day at the Al Wathba 2 site, about 40 kilometers south of Abu Dhabi, along a road shrouded in sand. The Photographer could barely see five meters in front of him. All of a sudden, he came across a vast worksite and some of 20 cranes reaching up to the sky. An unreal landscape, which he describes as being like something out of the movie Mad Max. A worksite worth of the Pyramids…Stéphane Lavoué traveled the length and breadth of North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula for three years, Leica camera in hand. The photographer’s two visits to the Al Wathba 2 treatment plant were a memorable experience.
BY GUILLAUME FROLET
Stéphane returned to the site in 2012 for a day, to pay tribute to an outstanding achievement in pictures. «On my first visit, I was completely free to move around,” says the photographer. “This time, the plant was finished and access to the facilities was naturally more restricted.” The wastewater treatment plant had been operating for about a month. However, it offered an equally surprising spectacle to visitors. “All around, the desert had restacked its claim, with camel breeders already going about their business,” says Stéphane. “The clarifiers looked like huge pools amid the dunes, contrasting starkly with the boundless stretches of sand.”
In 2014, Al Wathba 2 plant produces approximately 300,000 cubic meters of water per day for farming, livestock and the capital’s parks and gardens. A shining example of Abu Dhabi’s determination to promote a more moderate approach to water use
Background • Born in 1976 in Mulhouse, eastern France, Stéphane was raised in Germany and Africa. He took an interest in photography while studying engineering at Ecole Supérieure du Bois in France.
In 1999, he set off for the Amazon to buy wood for a French company. After returning to Paris, in 2001, he devoted more of his time to photography, shooting portraits for French daily Libération during the 2002 presidential campaign.
That was the start of his career, with orders flooding in from a number of newspapers and magazines in France and further afield. He began working with French industrial companies such as Veolia in 2010.
Al Wathba treatment plant
Abu Dhabi water conservation
ISTP2 – Independent Sewage treatment plant