Las crisis del agua



This documentary reviews various manifestations of water crises around the world. It takes us successively to Mexico City, China, the Aral Sea, Sao Paulo, Israel/Palestine and New York, and addresses several water-related issues, including pollution/contamination, groundwater overabstraction and land subsidence, wastewater treatment, desalination, inter-basin transfers, water shortages, flooding, water harvesting and climate change. Spanish experts Pedro Arrojo and Josefina Maestu appear through short statements.


This documentary is a rather conventional travel across varied countries and water issues. It is useful in drawing attention to the multiple 'crises' related to the most essential resource and therefore to the severe impacts that come with them. Destined to the general public it does achieve this goal. We learn that at the world level only 20% of wastewater is treated, that interbasin transfers are problematic and that rooftop water harvesting is a good solution.

The film also addresses issues of equity, mentioning the right to water, and Pedro Arrojo emphasizing aspects of water contamination, inequity and governance/privatization. The two-year drought in Sao Paulo illustrates the impact on water quality, most particularly in the slums. The international dimension is also illustrated through the contrast between, on the one hand, the Israeli Kibbutz/drip irrigation success story, and on the other, the situation in Palestine, where per capita water consumption is ten times lower, and where actual supply is around 118 million m3/year, although the Oslo Agreement had settled on a volume of 180 million m3.

The flip side of this 'travel' is the unclear structure of the film. Shifts from one topic/country to the other are somewhat rambling and the viewer has difficulty in identifying take-away messages, apart from the fact that problems are mounting and that climate change will make them worth.

A reasonable watch, though, as an introduction to water problems.

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