This week, The Story of Stuff Project, producer of the award-winning Story of Stuff, released its latest short documentary on fights to secure safe, affordable, public water in communities across the country. A Tale of Two Cities shows how citizens of two very different Michigan communities — picturesque, small town Evart and gritty, industrial Flint— have come to see their futures, and the future of their water, as inextricably linked.
As the lead-tainted water emergency in Flint drags on, many in that city continue to rely on bottled water for drinking and other household needs, a “wet Band-Aid,” as one resident puts it. But just 128 miles away in rural Evart, the same state government that has proven incapable of providing Flint residents with clean drinking water is considering a request by Nestlé. The world’s largest water bottler is attempting to draw millions of gallons of additional water from wells in Evart for just a tiny permitting fee.
In A Tale of Two Cities, we meet the members of a growing grassroots movement in Michigan who see water privatization as a growing threat, shared by the state’s urban and rural residents alike. What happens when a precious resource like water is managed like a business? And how can we ensure water stays under the democratic control of the people? In A Tale of Two Cities, we explore those questions and more.
The Story of Stuff Project’s previous short documentaries were Our Water, Our Future, which profiled a successful 2016 campaign to restrict commercial-scale water bottling in Hood River County, Oregon and This Land is Our Land, which told the story of Nestlé’s 30+ year unpermitted withdrawal of water for bottling from the drought-ravaged San Bernardino National Forest.