Sunday, July 5, 2009

Clean Water Resources

I have seen a couple of important documentaries on water pollution and ownership rights in the last week.

In the 70's, the Clean Water Act focused on point pollution caused by industrial and municipal sources. Though later weakened by subsequent administrations, this bill made some progress on water quality.

We are now facing additional major water pollution problems caused by agricultural and non-point pollution. Agricultural waste and urban storm water runoff are largely un-regulated. These sources are widely thought to be causing ocean dead zones. Fish that are changing sex and three-legged frogs are also consequences.

PBS's Frontline has a two hour film called Poisoned Waters that looks at the impact of these pollution sources on the Chesapeake Bay and the Puget Sound. This plays well on a computer and is free and on-demand.

Flow, is an award winning film that also looks at these issues. It's main focus is the privatization of water by a few multi-national corporations in conjunction with the World Bank. As part of loan agreement terms, the World Bank is forcing countries such as Bolivia and South Africa into selling water rights to Suez, Thames Water, and Veolia/Vivendi. Private water has become a business with over 400 billion dollars of annual revenue, third behind oil and electricity.

Flow also examines other forms of privatization such as the massive bottled water industry which pumps water out of many US communities without payment or regard for local impact.

Here is the Flow trailer

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