World Water Day: Must-Watch Documentaries

From Kenyan water women, to Iran’s drought crisis and a polluted paradise: our picks for World Water Day, and every day.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal clearly states the goal of "water for all by 2030". However, access to safe and clean water sources and sanitisation is still a work in progress for numerous countries worldwide.

From Iran’s water crisis, to Senegal’s sinking villages, China’s underwater hunt and a polluted paradise – here are eight documentaries looking at communities suffering from the political and corporate abuse of water sources, villages in the cold grasp of climate change, and innovative solutions to combat droughts and floods in a global quest to conserve the life-giving resource.

Iran’s Water Crisis

It is hard to imagine life without access to sufficient quantities of fresh water, but in some parts of the world, particularly the Middle East, that is becoming more than a theoretically disturbing possibility, as climate change, mass migration, environmental degradation, drought and political instability – among other issues – make the use and management of diminishing water resources an increasing challenge.

It’s a particular concern in Iran, where a number of problems – not least the stifling effect of years of international sanctions – mean water depletion is now receiving some serious attention.

People & Power sent reporter Gelareh Darabi and a team from earthrise, Al Jazeera’s environmental series, to investigate the reasons for Iran’s water crisis and the innovative schemes now being adopted to resolve it.

Senegal’s Sinking Villages

Doune Baba Dieye was once a vibrant fishing community on the Langue de Barbarie, a narrow, 30km peninsula that has protected the Senegalese port city of Saint-Louis from the Atlantic Ocean for centuries.

But changing weather patterns and heavy rainfall in 2003 led to flooding inland and a rise in sea levels that have now submerged part of the south of the peninsula. Today, the southern part of the Langue de Barbarie is an island and the village of Doune Baba Dieye under more than a metre of water.

In an effort to redress the disaster, Senegal has launched a series of engineering studies and hired a French construction company to build an embankment that will shield coastal homes from the ocean.

China’s Underwater Hunt

What do you find 3 kilometres under the sea?

In China’s Underwater Hunt, a team of Chinese scientists embark on a daring deep-sea mission to find out – travelling to places no human has ever been, rich with rare resources and unique creatures.

Sailing on one of the oldest research ships in the world, the group face high seas, cyclones, and constant seasickness as they explore the depths of the Indian Ocean.

One of those on board is Zang Yi – a young woman training as China’s first female deep-sea submersible pilot, she dreams of making discoveries that will support future life on earth.

Kenya’s Water Women

In the western Kenyan town of Kakamega and the nearby village of Sisokhe, social worker Rose Atieno and nurse Catherine Ondele are using rainwater-harvesting technology to bring clean water to villages.

As Atieno says, the men in rural villages make the water policies, but it is the women who feel the “pinch”: collecting water is physically difficult, time-consuming, and can make them vulnerable to rape.

In 2011, Atieno was one of the women participating in the Global Women’s Water Initiative project which provides women with the skills to build, repair and maintain rainwater harvesting tanks.

Since then, the trained women masons have helped other women build new tanks and turn their water into a money-spinner by selling it to the water company.

We follow Atieno and Ondele to see how Kenya’s female water tank masons are empowering women in rural villages and bringing measurable benefits to their families, communities – and their country. […]

More from the World Water Day video library:

Iran’s Water Crisis

Senegal’s Sinking Villages

China’s Underwater Hunt

Kenya’s Water Women

The Colorado River: A Lifeline Running Dry

New Zealand: Polluted Paradise

Jordan’s Water Wise Women

Flood-Resilient Homes in Pakistan: A Traditional Future

World Water Day: Must-Watch Documentaries
Article Name
World Water Day: Must-Watch Documentaries
The UN Sustainable Development Goal: "water for all by 2030". But access to safe and clean water sources and sanitisation is a work in progress. Videos...
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Al Jazeera
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