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Water rights are rapidly becoming an important future commodity as global corporations hurriedly buy up local water, and sell it to local consumers for outrageous sums. This video shows that taking place in the communities of Cochabamba, Bolivia; Stockton, California; and Rajasthan, India, and of how those towns face an array of preservation, conservation, and water takeover moves by big corporations.

Interspersed through those three stories is footage of a major Water Privitization and Rights conference in Japan, where protesters and petitioners question corporate executives about their moves to take control of water away from consumers around the world. The protesters see water as a basic human right, whereas global corporations see - and use - water privatization for exploitation and profit, and they believe they can more effectively manage and preserve water for the future than can ordinary citizens.

Focusing on an attempt by the mayor of Stockton, California, to privatize water so the city could save money, the film features private individuals gathering and protesting, to call for a vote on the issue. City employees work at the water plant; we see how the matter was voted on by the city council, rather than by the people of Stockton. Right now, all over the world, the issue of whether water is a human right or a commodity is determining the futures of many communities, states, regions, and countries.

This film smartly represents current struggles over water rights across the globe, and is especially timely for the western U.S., where water rights determine the success or failure of communities - even of states. Hoover Dam, for example, provides most of Los Angeles' water and electricity, and so is the major determining factor for the present existence of that city. Water rights for the Colorado River are currently being manipulated through the courts, and wrangled over by western states. In the end, given the growing human population and continuing drought conditions around the world, water rights issues affect many millions of people, and will become increasingly controversial and important.
Director(s): Alan Snitnow and Deborah Kaufman
Writer(s): Alan Snitnow and Deborah Kaufman
Cast: Snitow and Kaufman narrate
Release Date: 2003   
Keyword: Water shortages,
Target Age: 10+   Category: human rights
Documentary: yes
Language: English   Reviewer's Name: Micah
Review: http://EMRO
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