2 comments on “Flow: for the love of water

  1. I think one of the most dramatic aspects of this documentary was their portrayal of dams, not from a societal point of view, but from an environmental perspective. When I think of obtrusive dams, I think of mass relocation of townships and cities that are to be flooded when the dam forms. I don’t, however, think of the impact it has on the environment; not only does it disrupt ecosystems that took thousands of years to form and displace countless animals, it contributes to the green house effect. When dams are built, all of the vegetation that used to be there is covered in water and, therefore, beings mass decomposition. This in turn, leads to huge releases of methane (CH4) into the environment and, subsequently, into the ozone. While I can’t remember what the exact percentage of methane from dam sites versus fossil fuels was, I was astonished by how large a role these dams played. While I understand the cultural and human significance of the building of dams, I think more emphasis should start to be placed on the environmental effects these dams have.

  2. I recently watched the movie Flow and was struck by one of the comments made by an interviewee. He commented that the World Bank knows how to spend a billion dollars in one place (to do things like dam construction) but it doesn’t know how to spend a thousand dollars in a million places, which is what is needed in many cases. He believes that the “true solution to water problems are ultimately going to be local.”

    I was particularly impressed by some of the innovative the local solutions. For example, the local UV radiation stations set up in parts of India that can operated by a single local resident and make water safe for drinking for less than two dollars a day per person. Another innovative solution that impressed me was the PlayPumps set up in various parts of Africa. Children playing on the wheel actually pump the water up for storage. The only energy needed it kid’s enthusiasm.

    One thing that really surprised me was the legal impediments that hindered some local attempts to manage water and prevented large corporations from getting in trouble harmful practices. For example, how the World Bank has legal immunity in all the counties operates and therefore can’t be sued if the dams they fund prove problematic or promises to those displaced by them are not met. Or how when communities organized ways of collecting rain water in Rajasthan the organizer got a legal notice saying he wasn’t allowed to catch the rain water.

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