Troubled Waters Documentary Examines Global Problem of Water Scarcity


Newswise — Drought, shrinking aquifers, conflict and struggles, overuse of water, potential solutions -- UNC Wilmington's latest educational documentary Troubled Waters: The Illusion of Abundance takes a compelling look at the growing crisis of the world's water dilemma.

Narrated by UNCW's Chancellor Emeritus James R. Leutze, Troubled Waters will air at 8 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 8 on UNC-TV. The hour-long program explores the global, national and statewide crisis regarding water. It seeks to inform and inspire.

"This is a story about water: The role it plays in our lives and the crisis we are in," says Leutze as the program opens. "It is a quiet crisis slowly creeping across continents, including our own. We take water for granted. We don't give it a second thought unless something drastic happens like a drought. Only then do we realize how crucial water is to our lives."

Water is causing battles between countries, legal issues between states, and hard feelings among communities within North Carolina. While looking at these issues and implications, the documentary also looks at proposed solutions being tried in North Carolina as the state comes to terms with an issue that affects us all. There are numerous success stories, including regional cooperation and new technologies. One is the reverse osmosis process being used in Dare County to desalinate brackish water for personal consumption and use.

The state's drought of the summer of 2002 may have faded from memory with the wet spring and summer of 2003, but water issues remain a top public policy concern in North Carolina. The video takes viewers to High Rock Lake where dwindling water levels in 2002 forced some small business owners to close. It visits Virginia Beach, which fought a long battle with North Carolina to build a water pipeline from Lake Gaston near Roanoke Rapids. Interviews in the Triad focus on Randleman Dam.

North Carolina Governor Mike Easley discusses the drought's impact on agriculture. He became the first Southern governor to ask the federal government for agricultural drought relief. The documentary also looks at the implications of deepening the Cape Fear River to allow larger cargo vessels to reach the port of Wilmington.

In addition to being shown on UNC-TV stations across the state, video copies are sent to North Carolina public school systems and libraries. The documentary project also includes an educational Web site. Primary to the site are lessons and activities designed for educators and students. Another valuable part of the Web site is the resource section containing references to related books, articles, Web sites; international, national and state agencies; conservation tips; and examples of entities that are water wise.

In addition to narration by Leutze, UNC Wilmington personnel involved in the video include Elaine Penn, executive producer; Dr. Lou Buttino, award-winning professor of film studies, writer, director, and producer; and Dustin Miller, director of UNCW-TV, videographer and editor.

Major sponsors for the educational video are Duke Power, Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation, McKim & Creed and Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort " Wrightsville Beach.

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