Friday, February 20, 2009

The Water Front: How a Michigan Community is Fighting For Their Water

The Water Front

From the site:

Water is the liquid gold of the 21st century. While corporations urge local governments to privatize municipal water, communities around the world are organizing to ensure affordable access to this life sustaining resource. THE WATER FRONT is the story of one community's determination to fight the seemingly inevitable path of water privatization.

Highland Park, Michigan – the birthplace of mass production is a post-industrial city on the verge of financial collapse. The state of Michigan has appointed an Emergency Financial Manager to fix the crisis. The Manager sees the water plant, which Ford built in 1917 to support his auto industry, as key to economic recovery. She has raised water rates and has implemented severe measures to collect on bills. As a result, Highland Park residents have received water bills as high as $10,000, they have had their water turned off, their homes foreclosed, and are struggling to keep water, a basic human right, from becoming privatized. THE WATER FRONT follows the personal story of Vallory Johnson, who transforms her anger into an emotional grassroots campaign, defending affordable water as a human right.

THE WATER FRONT is not just about water, but touches on the very essence of our democratic system. The film presents a community in crisis but it also presents the powerful enactment of local participation in finding solutions to the problems of our times.

This community portrait is also an unnerving indication of what is in store for residents around the world as cities look to update water systems and face increasingly complex issues such as water shortages and implications of the bottled water industry.

The film raises questions such as; Who determines the future of shared public resources? What are alternatives to water privatization? How will we maintain our public water systems and who can we hold accountable?
This is but only one community in the United States now also feeling the squeeze on their water. This is real and it is affecting the lives of real people. People who do not deserve to have this human right kept from them. To not even have water to take care of your basic needs is a human rights abuse regardless of where it happens. That it is happening in the United States is a true travesty of justice and democracy.


opit said...

I've been following water news for a while now - just not giving it an exclusive. I notice the Lesotho Dam Project caught your attention. first caught mine when I downloaded a PDF detailing chaos caused in the Himalayas by water control projects. started checking the state of America's infrastructure.
I'm not sure when I started 'smelling a rat' at news reports. Because of the overwhelming arrogance of Bu$hCo I literally got the idea there was no madness business would not consider. Allegations of Nazi connections were bad enough, but when things started fitting into outrageous connections I followed the thread of thought to see where it might lead. contained a link to the use of water as an agent of destruction as well as tool to command obedience - such as one might expect in a desert ( I was impressed by the Dune SF books - though they were entertainment ).
This is running on : your Waterfront entry on Current sparked entry at Care2 and StumbleUpon. I have an online informational mares' nest at - and an 'End of the World' style rant in the weblog!

Tommy said...

I just wanted to share a true story on this point. My cousin recently received a water bill in the high hundreds for one month of service. He figured that the only way that could have happened was if there was a large break in the pipes that they were unaware of. They called plumbers over who found no problem, and had their water meter replaced, thinking that it was just not reading currectly. After all was said and done, and no cause for the large bill found, they went to the water company and found that they had not been reading their meter, just estimating their usage for an entire year, and then when they found out they were short, they charged them the entire difference in one month. It was just ridiculus that during a time of economic crises, they felt that they didn't have to do their jobs, but still expected someone else to pay for their mistake. Thanks for sharing the other story. I hope that we can find a way to keep water for the people, the way it should be.

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