The Growing Freshwater Crisis

Last Call at the Oasis

Directed by Jessica Yu (2012)

Film Review

This is a wide ranging documentary about the global freshwater crisis. It focuses mainly on the US, which has the largest water footprint per capital. However it also briefly addresses even more severe water issues in Australia, the Middle East and India.

The film addresses numerous issues contributing to the shortage of fresh water – climate change, causing more frequent droughts and declining snow backs (an important source of fresh water), the rapid depletion of groundwater (many US aquifers are predicted to be totally gone in 60 years), and the contamination of remaining freshwater by unregulated toxic chemical discharge, factory farm waste and fracking wastewater.

As usual the federal regulatory agencies (EPA, FDA, USDA) come off looking really badly in contrast to their European counterparts. It also comes across loud and clear that poor Americans suffer the most from contaminated drinking water – especially when government looks the other way.

The film also highlights how spoiled and entitled many Americans are in their attitudes towards water conservation.

My favorite part of the film features renowned anti-toxics activist Erin Brokovich, who continues to work tirelessly for poor communities suffering epidemics of cancer and other debilitating conditions stemming from contaminated water

Unfortunately there are no easy solutions to contaminated drinking water. Drinking bottled water isn’t one of them. As the filmmakers point out, bottled water is even more poorly regulated than tap water. Neither is desalinization, which is extremely polluting, both in terms of CO2 pollution and a nasty brine residue that’s nearly as harmful as nuclear waste to human health and the environment.

It appears that the cheapest and most environmentally friendly solution for desert areas like the Southwest and Southern California is one adopted by the city of Singapore: recycling purified waste (sewage) water. Most Americans resist this approach due to the “yuck factor.” Reportedly Los Angeles is on track to begin waste water recycling  by 2019.

The film, which can’t be embedded, can be viewed free for the next 2 weeks at the Maori TV website: Last Call at the Oasis

 

 

2 thoughts on “The Growing Freshwater Crisis

  1. I am most definitely NOT one of those bible thumpers, but even I believe that it’s just about “time’s up!” because we have reached the point of no return. This summer, even the white folks were complaining about the heat and usually they complain about Autumn and Winter. The heat is unbearable and has been beyond unbearable in states that are supposed to be used to heat such as Arizona and California. People have died in Arizona due to the heat and AC is mandatory there. And California, I cannot even guess as to how many hundreds of thousands of acres of land have been charred and the fire season is about to begin. Also, our water supply is going to continue to get even more toxic what with flooding and human waste and slaughter house waste flowing into it. We have a limited fresh water supply and that is not going to be able to keep up with the demand. Add into the equation the fact that bees are dying out that are sorely needed to pollinate crops and that is a recipe for disaster. How many years we have left? Not many, would be my guess.

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