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Water on the Table (2010)

Is water a commercial good like Coca-Cola, or a human right like air?


Liz Marshall


Liz Marshall


Maude Barlow
1 nomination. See more awards »


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Credited cast:
Maude Barlow ... Herself


Water On The Table features best selling author, public figure and water-warrior Maude Barlow, and her crusade to have water declared a human right, protected from privatization. "Water must be declared a public trust and a human right that belongs to the people, the ecosystem and the future, and preserved for all time and practice in law. Clean water must be delivered as a public service, not a profitable commodity." Water On the Table captures the public face of Maude Barlow as well as the unscripted woman behind the scenes, and shadows her life on the road in Canada and the United States over the course of a year as she leads an unrelenting schedule. From 2008 - 2009 Barlow served as the U.N. Senior Advisor on Water to Father Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, President of the 63rd Session of the United Nations. More than a portrait of an activist, Water On The Table presents several dramatic opposing arguments. Barlow's critics are policy and economic experts who argue that water is no ... Written by Liz Marshall

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Is water a commercial good like running shoes or Coca-Cola? Or, is water a human right like air?









Release Date:

24 March 2010 (Canada) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Water On The Table See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby (Dolby 5.1)


Color (HDCAM)| Color
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User Reviews

Great example of how NOT to make a documentary
22 March 2011 | by Tracy AllardSee all my reviews

For a film called "Water on the Table" there is remarkably little information on water, its commodification, its trends in usage, its cleanliness, its history. Basically, this film uses up about 1/4 of screen time for Maude 'in transit' in taxis, airports, and looking at her luggage. It spends another 1/4 of screen time on her hands, her legs, her fingers, her eyes. Another 1/4 of the visuals are close-up shots of flowing water. This only leaves 1/4 of screen time to actual content of any interest. It's not for lack of material to present, the film makers could have given us examples of private water takeovers in other countries, could have provided statistical data on water consumption in Canada with a breakdown of public and commercial use, could have presented trends in precipitation, lake and river levels, changes in composition, contamination. The film also could have given other examples of countries where water rights are progressing, but no none of these issues was ever addressed.

In fact, one of the most glaring omissions is a response to an argument presented by privatisation forces: "people who pay for their water are more likely to take care of the resource". This is an argument one hears quite often. Interestingly, corporations are pushing for individuals to pay for their water, but conveniently, it is NEVER suggested that corporations should pay for their extraction of water!! How convenient to say corporations ought to get it free, while pushing for individuals to pay for it. This seems typical of the Council of Canadians, they consistently fail to present a cohesive argument, which is sad because their cause is in itself a just one, but they lack the intellectual integrity to stay the course within a wider spectrum of criticism. This film is little more than a propaganda piece for the Council of Canadians and its hero and fails to inform viewers about the many future problems with the world's water supply.

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