Writing on Water

09 October 2009

Inspiring video on the experience of the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board which has broken down barriers between communities and engineers, and is pioneering a model of effective, democratic, accountable public water services.


The film while documenting the Pan Asian Colloquium on "Rights to Water: Challenges and Solutions" during the last week of September 2008 at IIT Chennai; uses it as a window to examine and explore the myriad issues related to commoditization of water around the globe but most essentially raises several questions that beg to be asked; 'Once you accept that water is part of the global commons and cannot be privatized, what is the alternative to ensure equitable supply to all and how can the Public Sector perform this role?'

Through the eyes of the motley group of delegates from 18 countries, the film explores the "The Democratization Experiment" of the Tamilnadu Water supply and Drainage Board. (TWAD) and the journey of the TWAD engineers in transforming themselves as individuals and then their institution.

On the way, several myths propounded by the international financial institutions for meeting the Millennium Development Goals are demolished and the enabling tools of the process of transformation are discussed. Inspired by the vision of a village community who have painted in the wall of a building, what they want the village to be in ten years time; the delegates each take a vow to fight for reclaiming public water and to work to spread the idea of the democratization of water management.