Client / Financial Support:Winrock International/Ford Foundation Duration: 48 mins
“These things look good only on television… things about economy and saving water and all that” say Nidhi and Madhur looking fresh after a rollicking rain dance party. Or take the case of Somabhai Patel of Memna village in Gujarat who owns 14 borewells on his agricultural land, “The water used to be at 100 feet below the ground just a few years ago, now it has gone down to 500 feet”. The Municipal Commissioner of Mumbai reveals startling facts to highlight the misuse of water by the urban elite, “Mumbai has 15 lakh cars each using 15 litres of water per day for washing – a total of about 2.25 crore litres of potable water is used only on cars everyday”. Quotes that reinforce the fact that the present water crisis is largely a crisis of our own making. It is not about failing monsoons or the facts that parts of India are naturally dry.
There is a social dimension to this crisis. Inevitably, rural India, and the very poor, have had to face the brunt of the water shortage. Water is diverted from rural India to meet the unending needs of the urban population – as drinking water, but also, to wash cars, to fill swimming pools, or to ensure adequate water in amusement parks. As the water table plummets, tube wells and hand pumps have gone dry. Deprived of water more and more of the rural poor are now forced to migrate – in search of work, but also, simply in search of water.
Algebra of Water is a documentation of this man-made water crisis.
Algebra of Water received special mention at the KARA film festival, 2004 Karachi, Pakistan