Although government policy in many parts of the world is to keep the ‘ price of water artificially at a low level through subsidies, this appears no longer sustainable.
Isabel Allende: “People in the villages all over the world know how precious water is. Especially the women, the women who go everyday, sometimes twice a day with a jar on their head to collect the water for the family. They know how heavy it is, how precious it is, how every drop counts!” In this episode of “Water – The Drop of Life”, we explore the raising prices for water and its transportation.
There is no doubt that the economic value of water increases constantly. Wherever water is scarce, the growing demand means that aging delivery systems are inadequate to meet current needs. Upgrading the water system of even a small town is a monumental task.
In Africa’s Rift Valley, the walk for water is at the very core of life for the Maasai. Women still go everyday, sometimes twice a day with a jar on their head to collect the water for the family. The aqueducts of Rome proved to be one of the world’s most notable water transportation systems.
However, the amount of people living in cities is constantly rising. This asks for good solutions in terms of water supply and management. Much of the cost of our water services goes to pay for collection and treatment of water to its very high standard for drinking. Our water and sewerage bills also pay for disposal of sewage, improvements to the supply network, reducing leakage, preventing sewer flooding and, not least, conserving the natural environment on which our water supply depends.
Therefore, appropriate pricing of water, particularly with regards to industrial use, is extremely important. In this episode we learn why a price tag to water is essential and why the price in various regions in the world are rising. Whether the responsibility of delivering water falls into public or private hands is the source of raging debate. How much people want to pay for water is also a controversy!
The ultra-modern Central Arizona Project Aqueduct brings Colorado River water to cities in America’s Southwest. Spain’s Tago-Segura project is diverting water to the fields in Murcia. We explore the controversial issue of water pricing in diverse communities throughout the world – who controls it, and who pays what, for water.
The film highlights the price asked by traditional water bearers in a bustling enclave in the midst of India, and then crosses over to Great Britain where wide-scale privatization of water takes place. Market-based solutions lead to rational allocation and use of resources. At last we travel to Santiago, Chile where an increase in the water price would be used to decontaminate the waters of the local rivers.
VIPS in this episode: Isabelle Allende, Shimon Peres, Ted Danson, Anita Roddick, Kofi Annan, Locations in this episode: Kenya, USA, Italy, Spain, India, England and Chile.
Themes in this episode: Water transportation, Aqueducts, Water subsidies, Water price, Market-based solutions, Central Arizona Project
• Aired worldwide over 60 countries, including PBS America nation wide