Irena Salina begins her new documentary Flow with this quote from poet W.H. Auden: “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” About one billion people lack access to fresh, clean drinking water, which drives them to drink whatever water is available to them. About two million people die each year from waterborne diseases and most are under five years of age. Statistics like this led Ashok Gadgil to act. He works at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and is featured in the documentary for his simple, inexpensive and self-sustaining system of purifying water by using ultraviolet light. It now delivers reliably clean drinking water to about 300-thousand people in India and the cost to purify 10 liters of water a day for an entire year is two dollars. But others are not interested in providing water so cheaply. Several multi-national corporations have gotten into the very lucrative business of supplying water to developing countries. They have their own cartel known as the World Water Council. Backed by The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, these companies go into countries like Bolivia, South Africa and India and try to convince people of the need to pay for water - which falls from the sky, runs through their rivers and has always been free. Water is now a 400-billion dollar global industry, third behind electricity and oil. The documentary also covers the issues of bottled water versus tap water and the case of the enormous water bottler Nestle versus the citizens of Michigan. Nestle pumps hundreds of gallons of water a minute out of the ground in west central Michigan, does not pay for it and is making, according to the film, an estimated 1.8 million dollars a day in profits off that free water. To read Nestlé’s press release about Flow, click here.
Many experts believe that water will become the oil of the 21st century – a valuable commodity and the object of deadly wars. Clean, fresh water is becoming more and more scarce, while it also becomes more and more polluted. We literally cannot live without it and people will do anything and give everything to obtain it.
To learn about positive steps you can take, click here.
To see if Flow is playing near you, click here.
To see the trailer for the film, click here.
To read the article that inspired Irena Salina to make this documentary, click here.