For Love of Water: infuriating and incredible documentary about world's water-crisis


I've just watched Irena Salina's incredible, infuriating documentary FLOW: For Love of Water, a film about the often-invisible and underreported global water crisis. Ranging from widespread US contamination to the tragedy of developing nations who are forced by the World Bank to sell their water companies like Vivendi, Suez and Thames, who get sweetheart deals to offer substandard, overpriced monopoly water service, at terrible cost to human life.

Global water profiteering is at the center of a global healthcare crisis that kills more people than AIDS or malaria. The film shows the grim reality of water in Asia, Africa, South and Central America, and the USA. The mortality is awful, and not just from bad water or no water -- also from police forces in states like Bolivia who go to war against people whose water supply has been sold to foreign multinationals who are reaping windfall profits while they die.

In the US and Europe, the bottled water industry pulls in billions to sell products that are more contaminated and toxic than what comes out of the tap. The result is a gigantic mountain of empty plastic bottles that toxify the environment -- and three times more money spent on bottled water than it would take to solve the world's real water crisis. The companies like Nestle that pump out our aquifers use private investigators to harass people who sign petitions to stop them from pumping.

But it's not all doom and gloom -- low-cost, sustainable purification technologies like ultraviolet water-health run by village cooperatives can make dramatic development differences for the poorest, most vulnerable people in the world, who are able to maintain their own systems without foreign involvement. Local activists all over the world and fighting back and winning public, non-profit ownership of their waterworks.

The companies that control our water control our lives. Without us even noticing it, we've handed the planet's destiny to a few companies with a plan to line their pockets by holding our survival hostage.

Flow is seeking signatures for a petition to the UN: "Article 31: Everyone has the right to clean and accessible water, adequate for the health and well-being of the individual and family, and no one shall be deprived of such access or quality of water due to individual economic circumstance."

FLOW is on the festival circuit -- if you get the chance, see this film. Link, Link to sign up for DVD release new

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    1. Wow! Really? The point behind bringing water to individuals that do not have the access is a long term goal. In case you are not sure what that means- there is not immediate payback in this form of an investment. Over the years however, there can and will be a payoff, but unfortunately individuals with narcissistic views are causing delays because you want the immediate benefits. Also, many of the benefits that these indiviuals want are monetary, and that is not the point behind bringing safe, clean drinking water to the world. I suggesst that you do some research about the water topic and the potential outcomes from these individuals receiving water.

  1. Isaac Asimov foretold the coming fresh water shortages 40 years ago. The math isn’t that hard but like global warming, people don’t want to know sometimes.

  2. We just need Dean Kamen to create a dirt-cheap desalination system.

    Also note that “public, non-profit ownership of waterworks” is NOT the same as universal access to water.

  3. The bit in The Corporation that got to me the most was when Bechtel claimed exclusive rights to the rain that fell on Cochabamba.

  4. “I’ve just watched Irena Salina’s incredible, infuriating documentary FLOW: For Love of Water, a film about the often-invisible and underreported global water crisis. Ranging from widespread US contamination to the tragedy of developing nations who are forced by the World Bank to sell their water companies like Vivendi, Suez and Thames, who get sweetheart deals to offer substandard, overpriced monopoly water service, at terrible cost to human life.

    Global water profiteering is at the center of a global healthcare crisis that kills more people than AIDS or malaria. The film shows the grim reality of water in Asia, Africa, South and Central America, and the USA. The mortality is awful, and not just from bad water or no water — also from police forces in states like Bolivia who go to war against people whose water supply has been sold to foreign multinationals who are reaping windfall profits while they die. ”

    That just seems like a bizarre caricature, not a serious analysis. One can debate the merits of the World Bank’s PPFIA but plenty of people were dying of malaria and other diseases thanks to water systems run by corrupt, inefficient kleptocracies long before the World Bank ever proposed private solutions to water in developing countries.

    For example, the CBC has an interesting and more nuanced look at the realities of water delivery in Bolivia here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/features/water/bolivia.html

    That being said, they need to privatize water from the bottom up, not the top down, though its hard for the World Bank and the kleptocracies to get to that point.

  5. I’m from Argentina. Is this ever going to come to the BAFICI? (a local independent cinema festival)?
    It’d be awesome.

  6. A bit off-topic: I wonder if this has any connection to F.L.O.W. For Love of Women, a modern set of dances choreographed by Moses Pendleton, which I recently saw performed by Diana Vishneva. I think it scandalized all the old people who were expecting ballet, but I was quite amused by the Daft Punk pyramid that they managed to make in the first segment, and the others were very fun and theatrical.

    I also like Brian Carnell’s comments very much, especially the paradigm of privatization from the bottom up.

  7. “We just need Dean Kamen to create a dirt-cheap desalination system.”

    This is most definitely not the answer.
    Desalination requires more energy and ‘poisons’ more water than it’s ultimately worth. Desalination is to drinking water as Ethanol is to gasoline. A short term band aid to a much larger issue that keeps the masses quiet for another 50 years until those resources are found to be depleted as well.

    If you are truly interested in becoming informed on this topic I hear this movie is a great source. Also, if you’re down for a good read check out ‘Blue Covenant’ by Maude Barlow. Amazingly, informative piece of writing on the global shortage of water and how governments/corporations are stealing the water under our feet, literally.

  8. “In the US and Europe, the bottled water industry pulls in billions to sell products that are more contaminated and toxic than what comes out of the tap.”

    Back up that libelous, untrue, and basically made-up statement, Cory, or cross it out.

  9. Well, Jason, the truth is, with a few exceptions (and there certainly are some exceptions), America’s tapwater is actually quite clean, cleaner than most of the world’s. Also, simply filtering your tapwater yourself is cheaper and less wasteful than buying bottled water. So, in most regions, what comes out of the tap isn’t all that toxic.

    As for bottled water, it isn’t held to the same legal standards as tapwater, and most bottled water isn’t any better than most tapwater, and once you consider home-filtered tapwater, the bottled stuff barely registers as an alternative at all.

    Besides all of that many companies that sell bottled water (including Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Nestle) actually use local tapwater in many of their bottling plants.

    Bottled water, besides the lower quality standards and misleading labels, is also less heavily regulated and inspected WAY less often than local tapwater sources (less than one person inspects every ONE MILLION bottles).

    LOCAL is a keyword here. Its already there – you don’t have to burn oil to ship it, you don’t have to store it in plastic bottles (made of oil byproducts by the way) and the bottled stuff costs a THOUSAND TIMES more per fluid ounce! On top of that there are worries about the health effects of the bottles leaking dangerous hormones directly to the water they contain.

    Ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? That’s where water bottles end up. There are actually two patches – the East Patch and the West Patch – and each is bigger than Texas, 99% plastic, and mostly discarded water bottles – just west of California, it stretches most of the way to Hawaii.

    No wonder bottled water companies spend billions of dollars advertising a product that would seem capable of selling itself based on the “convenience” or “laziness” factor…

  10. Home filtration has issues too…. RO filters waste a huge amt of water.
    Many filtera waste water AND use electricity. Brita filters improve taste but do not filter toxins.
    I finally settled on a Berkey filter: low-tech, at $200 it is affordable, and very effective. Use stainless steel sports bottles or re-use glass bottles and now we don’t need to buy plastic bottles.
    http://www.berkeyfilters.com/

  11. a French journalist objected to Vivendi’s stashing its profits in the Dublin-based Irish Financial Services Sector, as a means of avoiding French tax. This was in 2001 I think. Does anyone have the name of the book he wrote and the name of the author ?

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