What if you lived by the largest body of fresh water in the world but could no longer afford to use it?
Water is the liquid gold of the 21st century. While corporations urge local governments to privatize municipal water, communities around the world are organizing to ensure affordable access to this life sustaining resource. THE WATER FRONT is the story of one community's determination to fight the seemingly inevitable path of water privatization.
Highland Park, Michigan – the birthplace of mass production is a post-industrial city on the verge of financial collapse. The state of Michigan has appointed an Emergency Financial Manager to fix the crisis. The Manager sees the water plant, which Ford built in 1917 to support his auto industry, as key to economic recovery. She has raised water rates and has implemented severe measures to collect on bills. As a result, Highland Park residents have received water bills as high as $10,000, they have had their water turned off, their homes foreclosed, and are struggling to keep water, a basic human right, from becoming privatized. THE WATER FRONT follows the personal story of Vallory Johnson, who transforms her anger into an emotional grassroots campaign, defending affordable water as a human right.
THE WATER FRONT is not just about water, but touches on the very essence of our democratic system. The film presents a community in crisis but it also presents the powerful enactment of local participation in finding solutions to the problems of our times.
This community portrait is also an unnerving indication of what is in store for residents around the world as cities look to update water systems and face increasingly complex issues such as water shortages and implications of the bottled water industry.
The film raises questions such as; Who determines the future of shared public resources? What are alternatives to water privatization? How will we maintain our public water systems and who can we hold accountable?
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