PBS Premiere: July 13, 2004
Population growth, pollution, and scarcity are turning water into "blue gold," the oil of the 21st century. Global corporations are rushing to gain control of this dwindling natural resource, producing intense conflict in the US and worldwide where people are dying in battles over control of water. The world is poised on the brink of epochal changes in how water is stored, used, and valued. Will these changes provide clean water to the billions of people who need it? Or save the child who dies every eight seconds from contaminated water? Examining water conflicts in Bolivia, India and Stockton, California, Thirst shows that popular opposition to the privatization of water sparks remarkable coalitions that cross partisan lines. When it comes to water, many people demand local control and fear the arrival of multinational corporations with large lobbying budgets and little local loyalty. This film is a piercing look at the conflict between public stewardship and private profit, where activists claim that water is a human right and corporations declare it a commodity.