This article originally appeared on VICE Romania
When something is as vital to your survival as drinking water, it's usually best not to think too much about where it's been before it reaches your glass. It's easier on the soul to just assume that it bubbled up from some clear mountain spring, before flowing through a sterile reservoir and straight out of your tap.
People in Bucharest sadly can't be so blissfully unaware about their drinking water – everybody knows it comes from a big artificial lake called Lacul Morii (or "Mill Lake"), right in the middle of a residential area in the city. The lake's neighbours don't like paying extra for the collection of larger waste items, and their alternative is dumping their stuff by or in the lake.
The lake's water also flows into a river called Dâmbovița, which runs through downtown Bucharest. On warmer days, the smell of decay wafting from the river into the city is an alarming sign of what's happening to the water.
When Romanian photographer Eli Driu went by the lake a few weeks ago she couldn't look away from the scattered rubbish, the animal carcasses and the man taking a morning shit right next to the water. The Romanian government says water from this lake is thoroughly filtered before people actually drink it, but it won't surprise anybody that the people of Bucharest generally prefer drinking bottled water.
Scroll down for more photos of Bucharest's drinking water reserve.