Fresh water is the vital resource without which no life on this planet would be possible – yet the amount of this unequivocally essential element grows more scarce each year. With human activities increasingly polluting fresh water beyond recoverable means through industrial and agricultural pollution, and with corporate and government interests working to privatize and commoditized the most valuable ingredient for life, increasingly water scarcity becomes more and more of a problem across the globe.
The impacts of this scarcity and decreasing availability of fresh water are felt most directly by those people in areas where water is most difficult to come by. Water-borne diseases thrive in areas where the impoverished lack proper sanitation or access to clean fresh water sources, accounting for up to 80% of all disease in developing nations. But even in the developed world, the diminishing supply of freshwater is causing terrible problems all its own, with waters tainted with fertilizers and agricultural waste, industrial by-products, and pharmaceutical drugs and their metabolites.
We took the time to watch five leading documentaries which aim to examine the world water crisis. These documentaries look at everything from where our water comes from to the political issues surrounding the current water issues and everything in between. While there is certainly some overlap between the themes and content of these documentaries, watching one or all of them will leave viewers with a good overview of some of the many issues contributing to the looming world water crisis.
Taking a detailed look at the world’s shrinking supply of fresh water, Blue Gold: World Water Wars goes into great depth about the impacts of human activity on the world water supply. Looking at problems as diverse as top soil erosion, agricultural run-off, industrial pollution, the impacts of dams and rerouting water ways, and more, the film does a good job of highlighting the effects humanity has on its environment and how these effects are ultimately contributing to water scarcity.
The documentary also takes a close examination of the problems of water privatization, and how corporate and political interests are working to make a profit by controlling the supply of fresh water. Going into great detail about different issues faced across the globe as the result of attempts at privatization, this documentary is perhaps one of the best on this list for examining the role of corporate power in the world water crisis.
Based on the book “Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water” the documentary certainly succeeds in living up to the subtitle, providing enlightneing details about the ongoing struggle to kick corporate influence out of the world’s water managemenet.
Check out the YouTube trailer below or rent or purchase the film on Amazon.
Focusing on the environmental, political, and social impacts of the bottled water industry Tapped provides a fascinating window into the corporate and political climate in the United States which has allowed corporations to vastly exploit natural water resources. Exploring issues ranging from the pollution created by the bottles themselves, to the efforts by corporations to create dependencies on bottled water, to the environmental impact of bottling operations on already dwindling fresh water resources, to the quality of bottled water itself.
An exceptionally well-produced and well-researched documentary, Tapped is an extremely informative 75 minute watch. It includes informative interviews with leading experts, scientists, and industry leaders. Of particular interest are the experiments explained in the documentary where laboratories analyzed water after storage in plastic bottles and demonstrated a range of contaminants.
Check out the trailer below. You can purchase or rent the film on Amazon.
The cleverly entitled FLOW is another look at the growing privitization of water resources across the globe. Identifying and describing the different parts and mechanisms behind the growing world water cartel, the documentary provides a good look into the environmental hazards of human activities of all descriptions.
With a look at climate change, the decreasing amount of fresh water, the exploitation of the water resources, companies attempts to capitalize on growing pollution, and raising fundamental question about the morality of bottled water, FLOW paints a damning picture of human impacts and corporate contribution to the growing water crisis.
Check out the trailer below or purchase or rent the movie on Amazon.
Much like the film Tapped above, Bottled Life peers into the troubles being raised by the bottled water industry and their attempts to privitize water resources across the globe. Where Tapped narrows its focus onto the United States but looked at a spectrum of water bottling companies, Bottled Life instead narrows the focus specifically onto bottling giant Nestle while taking a broader and more international scope.
Identifying the problems created by Nestle’s activities on both a local and global level, the documentary succeeds in demonstrating the painful consequences of exploiting global water resources. Creating unnecessary waste, polluting water sources, harming local water supplies, and unnecessarily transporting water across the globe for profit, Bottled Life points the finger at Nestle as a major culprit in a growing world water crisis.
Check out the trailer below to get a glimpse at the film. You can purchase or rent the movie on Amazon. It is also available for free for Netflix subscribers.
From season 27 of acclaimed PBS documentary series Frontline, Poisoned Waters provides an in-depth look at the growing water pollution epidemic across the United States. Focusing on the devastating ecological impact of pollutants in America’s waterways, the documentary includes a horrifying look at the impact of pollution on animal life and landscapes.
Going into detail about the growing variety of chemical contaminants, the documentary examines scientific evidence to demonstrate the human- and animal-health impacts from the growing contamination of waterways. With a broad scope focusing on both drinking water and non-potable water, the documentary provides an extremely educational tour of human impacts on water resources. Anyone who wants an in-depth look at why pollutants are being created, what they are and do, and how they pollute water resources should definitely check out this documentary.
Take a look at the trailer below to get a sneak peak of what Poisoned Waters has to offer. It is a very informative and in-depth two hour experience! You can purchase or rent a copy on Amazon, or you can stream the documentary for free on PBS.org.
For now these five documentaries should keep you busy! Keep coming back for more information about these important issues. Thanks for reading!
Still hungry for more? Read our article 5 Shocking Ways Bottled Water Is Ruining Our Planet. Or check out this interesting 15 minute TED talk about water management and scarcity by Kaveh Madani.
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We explore five documentaries on the growing world water crisis. Learn how human impact is damaging scarce freshwater resources.
Jacob Hatch is the author and founder of Hydration Anywhere. He has been actively writing about drinking water since 2013. These days Jacob spends most of his time investigating water related news, studying environmental issues, reading health studies, and reviewing products like water bottles and water filters.