Living in Japan, we are never made to think of how fortunate we are to have access to water. This year, however, I watched a 19-minute documentary called the “World’s Water Crisis.” The episode is part of the television series, “Explained,” and is available on Netflix and Youtube. Of the many documentaries and films I have watched, none has impacted me as greatly as this documentary. It changed my perspective on water, and on a deeper level, consumer culture and my own role within it.
The documentary opens in Cape Town, the first major city predicted to run out of water. In 2018, the once bustling city lay quiet under fear, as all taps were turned off and Capetonians queued to collect rationed water under the supervision of armed guards. Livelihoods in agriculture were lost, and food prices skyrocketed. The government’s assurances that the city would not run out of water were only empty promises.