Last week I blogged about water-quality trading in the Ohio River Basin, a project I heard a presentation on at the US Water Alliance’s One Water Leadership (OWL) Summit. In addition to a rich few days of conference sessions on ways of managing water stress, I also serendipitously caught a relevant documentary in my hotel room one night.
I was settling in and flipping through TV channels to try to find the first 15 minutes of some of the national and international news when I encountered images and verbiage that was so similar to what I had been hearing downstairs at the summit that at first I thought maybe there was a channel dedicated to the events at the hotel. I had actually landed on a public television station, and what I was seeing was the film, Water Blues, Green Solutions. Interestingly, one of the people interviewed in the film was a conservation leader at the San Antonio Water System (SAWS) whom I had met at the OWL Summit the prior year. Another was Philadelphia Water Commissioner Howard Neukrug, who we have profiled in Water Efficiency since I’ve been editor.
So while I, of course, wanted to put work aside to watch the news and then relax, the hour-long documentary was too topical to pass up. Created by Penn State Public Media, it is quite beautifully filmed. And I have to say that the pictures truly are worth a thousand words (maybe even a million words, being moving pictures). At the summit itself most of the presentations, as informative as they were, were light on visual material or included PowerPoint presentations with lists and charts that were not always sized right for viewing by the audience. Notably, Bruce Roll, of Clean Water Services, did provide some respite from the eyestrain when he shared a film about the progress of his Tree For All planting program.
Getting back to the movie though, Water Blues, Green Solutions discusses green infrastructure, water reuse, and cleanup projects in Philadelphia, Portland, San Antonio, and the Bronx, and it is worth seeing. It offers valuable, fleshed-out insight by telling the stories of various programs. One segment has to do with reuse water supplying the flow for San Antonio’s famous River Walk and also discusses the work of SAWS to support conservation of the Edwards Aquifer, including improvement of stewardship of land above the over-tapped freshwater gem so that replenishment may occur by natural seepage.
Another part of the film that I found particularly inspiring is about the Bronx River Alliance and Greenway Plan, and an organization called Rocking the Boat that teaches young people the art of boat building for confidence building, leading into river cleanup, recreation, and new views on community. The river really becomes a way out of dead-end life on the mean streets.