Top 5 Water Documentaries

Collecting films has been a hobby of mine ever since I was a kid collecting Disney movies. Now that I’m a bit older than Disney’s target demographic, I look for movies by theme. I love to pick a theme and explore that theme in film. One theme I’ve been looking into lately is water. Water is already being called “the oil of the 21st century.” It is becoming imperative for the world to understand what it is we’re talking about when we say “World Water Crisis.”

The goal of the following films is to educate us laymen who don’t have degrees in hydrogeology or watershed management on what World Water Crisis means. Whether you’re wanting to explore a new topic or your friend keeps asking you why you care so much about water, these films are a great place to start.

In no particular order:

1.  Tapped

Stephanie Soechtig’s debut feature takes a critical look at the way the bottled water industry tries to privatize  water. From the producers of Who Killed the Electric Car, this documentary takes a look at everything from the plastic bottling plants to the oceans where many of their products end up. Stephanie Soechtig’s film seeks to answer the question of whether or not access to water is a basic human right or a sellable commodity.

2.  FLOW:  for the love of water

Irena Salina’s award-winning documentary investigates the World Water Crisis of the 21st century. Like Stephanie Soechtig, Salina’s film deals with the growing privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply. Flow examines “politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel.” Flow also takes a look at the people providing practical solutions to the water crisis and those developing new technologies for a successful global and economic turnaround.

3. Blue Gold:  World Water Wars

“Global Warming is an issue of ‘how’ we live, the water crisis is an issue of ‘if’ we live.” Blue Gold takes a look at the future of water and suggests that wars will increasingly be fought over water instead of oil. Sam Bozzo’s documentary is based on the book  Blue Gold: The Right to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World’s Water by MaudeBarlow and Tony Clarke.

4. A World Without Water

I chose to put A World Without Water on this list because it takes a more personal approach by showing the poverty stricken areas of the world in which people do not have access to clean water. If the world is running out of water, these are the places and the people who will feel it most and who will feel it first. They are our method of gauging progress. A World Without Water does a fantastic job of displaying the plight of those in most need.

5. Poisoned Waters

Poisoned Waters is a FRONTLINE documentary that looks at U.S. water policy beginning with the EPA under Nixon. It looks at bills like the Clean Water Act and areas like the Chesapeake Bay. Poisoned Waters is a great film because it takes something a lot of people view as boring and makes it interesting and relevant. If you don’t particularly enjoy reading legal documents but want to know more about the EPA and the Clean Water Act, this is the documentary for you.

We hope you enjoy these films as much as we do. Feel free to recommend other films that have been integral to your understanding of water-related environmental issues. We would love to see them!


About The Water Council

The Water Council, the only organization of its kind in the United States, was established in 2009 by Milwaukee-area businesses, education and government leaders. With more than 150 water technology companies in the Milwaukee area, the region’s water industry is a $10.5 billion dollar market and accounts for four percent of the world’s total water business. The non-profit organization is linking together global water technology companies, innovative water entrepreneurs, acclaimed academic research programs and, most importantly, some of the nation’s brightest and most energetic professionals. The Water Council is capturing the attention of the world and transforming the Milwaukee region into a World Water Hub for freshwater research, economic development and education. The Water Council is located in the Global Water Center at 247 W. Freshwater Way, Suite 500, Milwaukee, WI 53204.
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