Blue Gold (2009) – Salt Spring Island Documentary Film Festival 2011

I watched Blue Gold again this year, even though I already had seen it before. My research agenda is heavily focused on water, although more on the less-researched side (wastewater governance). So, whenever I see Blue Gold again, I am ambivalent towards it. It’s a great documentary for those who don’t understand much about how scarce water is. It’s a good wake up call that reminds people that privatization of water is a reality, and one that may be affecting many people’s lives.

The good side of this film is that it provides information that is much needed on water scarcity. The BAD side of this film is that it spends 1 hour and 20 minutes scaring people about how bad water privatization is BUT provides only 10 minutes worth of solutions. And some of those solutions seem rather unfeasible (from my scholarly viewpoint). Remember, I’m also a chemical engineer, not only a specialist in public policy. So I look at the technical aspects of water management too.

I am also appalled that the film makers only touch on wastewater and water quality issues from the perspective of “it’s happening and it’s bad” but not from the perspective of “hey, here are some technical solutions to wastewater”. The film makers also ignore (as Barlow and Clarke seem to do too) that wastewater IS also part of the hydrological cycle.

I was really disappointed that Mexico City’s case is only seen from the very negative side, without reminding people that Mexican environmental and civil engineers are amazing and have pushed forward wastewater treatment technologies in many ways beyond where other countries in the North have done. Really sadly poor representation of my beloved Mexico.

The description from the Salt Spring Island Documentary Film Festival’s website. And this is my review from the first time I saw Blue Gold.

The world’s fresh water is disappearing. The rampant over development of agriculture, housing and industry increase the demands for fresh water well beyond the finite supply, resulting in the desertification of the earth. As we pollute and waste away our very limited supply, corporate giants are working to make the building block of our globe a commodity, privatizing developing countries’ fresh water. This international award winning film follows various examples of people fighting back against the powers that be, from grade school protests to court cases to revolutions.

Yes, Blue Gold is worth watching. But you should also look at data summaries from the World Water Assessment Project so that you can get


Disclosure: I’m in Salt Spring Island to experience the 12th Annual Salt Spring Island Documentary Film Festival March 4th through 6th. My stay at Hastings House and my flight on Salt Spring Air have both been complimentary. Entry to the film festival is by donation and I’ve happily paid for that out of my own pocket. It’s a fantastic film festival and you should experience it next year.

Related posts:

  1. Chefs Across The Water at Hastings House in Salt Spring Island (August 2011)
  2. Waste Land (2010) Salt Spring Island Documentary Film Festival 2011
  3. Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls (2009) – Salt Spring Island Documentary Film Festival 2011
  4. 12th Annual Salt Spring Island Documentary Film Festival
  5. Movie review: Blue Gold: World Water Wars (2008)

Comments (1)

FranciscoMarch 22nd, 2011 at 8:53 pm

Good summary! do you if it will be playing in Vancouver?

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