​​​Don't stop reading. I need you to understand what they have done!


Clean Water - opinions of Philip Oldfield - Author of novels with strong female protagonists.

Are  you dying of thirst?

There are 750 million people in the world, that's 1 in 9 of us who lack access to clean and safe water.

I awoke this morning feeling thirsty. Now I know why. The news on BBC Radio 4, a painting by Picasso: 'Women of Algiers,' had broken art auction records selling in New York to an anonymous buyer for $179.3m (£115m). 

Astonishing and a grotesque use of money. These were, but the first thoughts that assailed me. My reaction is not about the aesthetics of the painting, nor of the artist, who is undoubtedly a master in art. Nor, I have to declare, is it a judgement on the buyer. My reaction touched upon how much one hundred and fifteen million pounds - £115,000,000 - would achieve if it was used elsewhere. Here are some selected facts:

Median annual gross salary of full-time workers in the UK in 2014 was £27,195. Over 4,200 jobs in the UK could be supported for a year (not including employer on-costs). Or employ over 5,350 nurses in the UK for a year. The starting salary for a nurse is £21,478. 

​​The sale price of Picasso's painting, Women in Algiers, which sold for $179.3 m, would provide 7.2 million people with clean, safe water.

Reservoir of water - Author - Philip Oldfield
Picasso - Author - Philip Oldfield

Access to clean, safe water

But here is the most stunning impact the sale of the painting by Picasso ($179.3m/£115m) could achieve...

According to Water.Org  $25 will provide access to clean, safe water for one person.

The maths. It's simple. The sale of Picasso's painting, Women in Algiers, which sold for $179.3m would provide 7,172,000 people with clean, safe water.

Just think, almost 7.2 million people no longer dying of thirst. 

We could all drink to that, couldn't we?

Philip A. Oldfield