Water and sanitation problems cause more casualties worldwide than any war claims through guns.
Flow, a documentary that opens September 12 and from which this stat comes, hopes to open your eyes to the dire state of the world's water supply.
The film focuses mostly on developing nations and the corporate takeover of water systems in those countries. In Cochabamba, Bolivia, we see footage of the water wars, which erupted after the privatization of the municipal water system.
In Africa, we see families who were uprooted from their homes so that a hugely expensive dam could be built to control the flow of water.
And in India, the threat of water privatization looms.
The filmmakers make the argument that the privatization of fresh water is unethical. Water is a basic human need, a fundamental right, and that the privatization of water systems would mean decisions based on profit rather than sustainability in a community.
The director wants to you think of water as a commodity that's as precious as oil--blue gold, as they say. Blue Gold is also the title of a book by Maude Barlow, an activist who is featured in the film, fighting against the corporate takeover of water systems. Whoever controls water, has power, she says.
But before you think the issue is far-removed from our well-hydrated land, remember we actively contaminate our water stateside with pharmaceuticals, industrial pollutants, and other junk.
Though our tap water is pretty regulated, we insist on buying bottled water (in one particularly troubling tale, Nestle is selling Michigan water back to citizens of the state in bottles for a fee). Barlow and Tony Clarke refer to the bottled water industry one of the fastest-growing and least regulated industries in the world.
Barlow says California has 20 years of water left, Arizona has 10 (but with the way they're building golf courses, she says, they could reduce it to five).
You'll definitely leave the film thinking of water as the precious resource that it is.
The directors urge viewers to sign the UN petition that would make access to clean drinking water a basic human right.
Until then, don't forget to turn off the faucet when brushing your teeth.
Flow opens in select cities September 12.
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