Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Water Woes

The nation of Bangladesh is prey to every threat from water known to man. To understand the plight of this downriver delta nation is to understand what all of us will face in the coming years. WATER WARS tells the story of this land at war with not only rising seas, but devastating floods and droughts -from India's dams dumping their excess in the wet season and siphoning off river water in the dry season. And as Bangladesh sees less and less river water during the dry season it is forced to dig more wells going deeper, encountering arsenic poisoning that is filling hospitals and graveyards. Today the struggle 'with' water and 'for' water has become a global crisis. In the last century much of the horn of Africa dried up before our eyes. In 1953, the sea broke through the dykes in Holland to kill 1800 people. In 1971, flooding rivers and a tidal wave killed a half million in Bangladesh. In 2004, a Tsunami claimed over 200,000 lives in Southeast Asia. In 2005, a massive hurricane destroyed the city of New Orleans. And in 2006 the Government of India plans a massive River-Interlinking Project that will siphon off up 70% of the water of the Brahmaputra River which provides Bangladesh with 65% of its fresh water. Global Warming is getting lowland countries around the world, with Bangladesh among those at greatest risk. We have filmed on location for over two years: in Bangladesh, flood, drought and near-violent protest; in India the struggle of Indian activists against the prevailing dam mentality of the Indian Government and vested interests; in New Orleans after Katrina where the Dutch Crisis Team and its hi-tech pumping systems made a difference; in Holland where we examine its state-of-the-art canal/levee system. In Bangladesh we have interviewed water management experts Taiudal Khan, Hafiz Uddin and Bilqis Hoque; in India activists Medha Patkar, Arundhati Roy and Water Management expert Vijay Paranjipe; in Holland Crisis Manager Jaap Van Wissen and Professor of Crisis Management Eelko Dykstra; in the US Congressman Earl Blumenhauer, responsible for the recent passage of a bill to provide fresh water for the world's poor. Can the Dutch - whose crisis teams and hi-tech pumps helped drain New Orleans after Katrina - pass on their hard won knowledge to Bangladesh and the rest of the globe where the ice caps are melting, the seas rising daily, and 80% of its fresh water is at risk from pollution and poison? Can the global community work together to deal with the impending calamity and perhaps avert it?

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