Water. Some people call it the new oil. Its value is increasing as climate change heats up the planet, pollution from carbon dioxides, microplastics, invasive species and lead becomes more threatening, population and development explodes, and the need for fresh clean drinking water grows.
But who owns the water?
It’s a question that is difficult to answer, and gets a wide range of responses, especially in the Great Lakes Region, where more than 40 million people get their drinking water from five freshwater lakes. The Great Lakes contain approximately 20 percent of the world’s surface fresh-water supply and 95 percent of the surface fresh water in the U.S.
In the new half-hour documentary about water withdrawal called “Tapping the Great Lakes”, Detroit Public Television’s Great Lakes Bureau takes a deep dive into methods of water withdrawal and their impact on the Great Lakes.
It premiered on March 26th at 7:30 pm on Detroit Public Television.
First, we look at Nestle, a company that withdraws millions of gallons of water from aquifers near Lake Michigan, bottles it, and sells it in the U.S. Next, we research the Waukesha, Wisconsin, controversy and ask how and why a city outside the Great Lakes Basin has been granted the right to use Lake Michigan water for its drinking water supply.
Who’s watching over Great Lakes water? Are the laws strong enough to protect the region’s drinking water supply? Should global corporations have the right to use Great Lakes water to make big profits? What industries are allowed to use massive amounts of water? Are aquifers being depleted by certain practices, or is the groundwater able to replenish itself?
Can the Great Lakes survive continued attempts to diminish its water supply?
To answer these questions, Detroit Public Television’s Great Lakes Bureau travelled throughout the Great Lakes Region to interview citizens, scientists, water experts, tribal leaders, lawmakers and environmental activists to explore landmark decisions and controversial practices that could set a precedent for the future use of Great Lakes Water. “Tapping the Great Lakes” takes you from inside Nestle headquarters where we talk with corporate heads to a small diner in Evart, Michigan where locals discuss their concerns about their home wells and ponds; from huge government buildings in Lansing and Chicago to small historic homes; from the shores of the Great Lakes to tiny streams and inland lakes.
Please watch “Tapping the Great Lakes” on DPTV this coming Monday night, March 26th, at 7:30pm, and give us your comments. http://greatlakesnow.org/tapping #tappingtheGL
Check your local listing.