Is water a human right or a commodity? TVO's Water Week attracts citizen
water cooler debate

    -   TVO airs documentaries exploring issues surrounding water quality and
        availability March 21-27

TORONTO, March 19 /CNW/ - Monday March 22 is World Water Day and UN-Water has chosen "Communicating Water Quality Challenges and Opportunities" as its theme. To mark the day, between March 21 and March 27, TVO will air a week of water-themed films that examine political, economic and environmental issues surrounding water quality and availability.

The week will feature the world premiere of the Canadian documentary Water on the Table on Wednesday March 24 at 10 pm. The film follows Canadian activist Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians, and the United Nations Senior Advisor on Water from 2008 to 2009, through Canada and the United States over the course of a year as she campaigns to raise awareness about water issues. Barlow's opponents are also given voice, arguing that water is no different from any other resource and that the best way to protect freshwater is to privatize it. At the heart of the film is a provocative question: Is water a human right, or a commodity to be bought and sold like gold and oil?

TVO's Water Week taps into a growing debate on water in Canada and at a recent TVO promotion in which water coolers were the gathering place for members of the public to share their views, issues of water quality and availability produced no shortage of opinions.

Water Week Schedule:

A World without Water - Sunday, March 21, 2010 at 8 pm ET

Filmmaker Brian Woods examines how the battle for water ownership affects the lives of four disparate groups of people in Bolivia, India, Tanzania and the heart of the planet's richest nation, the United States.

Toxic Trespass - Sunday, March 21, 2010 at 10:30 pm ET

Filmmaker Barri Cohen investigates the effects of the chemicals in our water, focusing on Windsor and Sarnia, Ontario, identified as Canadian toxic hotspots.

Strait through the Ice - Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 7 pm ET

Scientists and explorers weigh in on how the opening up the Northwest Passage by the melting of Arctic polar ice can be both an ecological catastrophe and a commercial godsend.

Water on the Table - World premiere - Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 10 pm ET; repeated Sunday, March 28 at 10:30 pm

Filmmaker Liz Marshall follows Canadian activist Maude Barlow as she campaigns against the privatization of water and tries to bring attention to how industry is polluting the water table.

To view a preview see

National Geographic: Extreme Ice - Saturday, March 27, 2010 at 7 pm ET

Photojournalist James Balog conducts the largest time-lapse photographic study of the cryosphere (the parts of the Earth's surface where water exists in frozen form) ever attempted.

    Water Facts:

    -   Less than 1% of Earth's water is readily drinkable; 97% is sea water;
        2% is caught in polar ice caps
    -   Earth has the same amount of water as when the planet was formed.
        Earth will not get any more water.
    -   The average Canadian uses 329 litres of water daily. That's second
        only to usage in the United States.

About TVO

TVO is Ontario's public educational media organization and a trusted source of interactive educational content that informs, inspires and stimulates curiosity and thought. TVO's vision is to empower people to be engaged citizens of Ontario through educational media. For more information, visit

Where to find TVO

Cable channel 2 (channel may vary in some areas), Bell TV channel 265, Shaw Direct channel 353.


For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Paul Ginis, TVO Communications, (416) 484-2600 x2445,; Lesley Horlick, TVO Communications, (416) 484-2600 x2281,

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