... still reconsidering Utopia, now in a more ambiguous territory
Friday, December 4, 2009
This movie, which was recommended to me by Jessica (thanks!), portrays the global processes of water privatization. Quite an insightful documentary shedding light on how scarce this resource really is, even in places where we believe it is ample. Furthermore, it tells the stories of many communities around the world whose water resource was destroyed or their access to it denied by large corporations basing their operations on water extraction in these sources. These corporations are often promoting large development projects meant to 'resolve' water scarcity, where the reality is that water 'produced' through these operations is only available to those who can pay. The ethical question is then: who owns water? and Can water be sold as if it was private property? The issue is now relevant more than ever in the context of Israeli water crisis. As drought years become more frequent, underground resources and surface water are pumped at a substantially higher rate than they are replenished, the solution being promoted is extensive desalination. Not to mention the ecological issues of desalination and the enormous energy consumption these plants require, this an obvious trend towards privatization of the water sector. Desalination plants (providing 85% of domestic consumption) will be owned by private investors alongside the power plants enabling their activities. Negative impact on public beaches is an obvious drawback. Worse might be the reality that not all could afford water for everyday life. To put this in context, as of last month a new drought fee has been reinstated in Israel, whereby water allotment per person has decreased and surplus charges have gone up significantly. This means that for many, water bills have gone up by a ten fold. Gardening is no longer a viable choice, and many ordinary people need to consider if they can afford taking a shower, turning on the washer or having a glass of water. Will all this tax money go into desalination initiatives only to emerge as developer profit in the end of the day? A positive alternative is presented in "Flow", through localized initiatives of community members who start harvesting rainwater and treating wastewater locally, for the long term benefit of their communities.
To watch the preview- Flow preview The full movie on DVD is available for loan at the Cambridge libraries.