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Blue Gold: World Water Wars (2009)Blue Gold: World Water Wars (2009)

This is a polemical but nevertheless powerful documentary about what might be the single most important issue of our day — water. Water management has always been a centerpiece, for good or ill, of civilizations. Consider the role of the Nile in ancient Egypt, Rome's aqueducts, or the fate of the Aral Sea under the Soviets. About 97% of the earth's water is salt water, while the remaining 3% faces problems of politics, profiteering, and pollution, so that in many areas we're removing more water from the aquifers than is being replaced by nature's cycles. More people die every year from lack of clean water than from malaria, AIDS and war. In Africa Coke's Dasani water can cost more than the cola. After considering the consequences of pollution, the latter half of the film explores a key controversy: water as a basic human right and public resource for all as opposed to a commodity that has been privatized for profit by multi-national corporations in collusion with governments. Even in many American cities water management has been outsourced to foreign multi-national companies. The film is based upon the 2003 book Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke. I recommend this film in conjunction with the similar documentary called Flow.

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