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23rd January 2018
What happens when we manage a critical resource like water as if it were a business? Our latest short documentary, A Tale of Two Cities, explores this very question.

A Tale of Two Cities tells the story of citizens from two very different Michigan communities—picturesque, small town Evart and gritty, industrial Flint— who have found their futures inextricably linked by a threat to the one thing that all life requires: water.

You’re probably familiar with Flint's ongoing battle for clean water in the wake of the worst lead crisis in U.S. history. But Michigan's water problems run even deeper.

Only 128 miles from Flint, Nestlé–the world's largest water bottler–is trying to increase the amount of water it draws from wells outside of Evart. And although Nestlé nets enormous profits from the sales of that water, it pays the state just $200 in annual permit fees.

When Flint's tap water became too unsafe to drink, Nestlé began donating bottled water and gaining positive PR.2 As the lead-tainted water emergency in Flint drags on, many there are forced to rely on bottled water for drinking and other household needs, a “wet Band-Aid,” as one resident puts it.

Flint's toxic water is the consequence of toxic politics that suspended local democracy and put cost cutting measures before the lives of those in Flint—all while allowing a foreign corporation to slowly pillage a small town's ecosystem for private gain.

Since Flint's lead crisis became national news, an additional 3,000 locations around the United States have been found to contain even higher lead levels.3 With the Trump administration's mixed signals4 about its promised infrastructure overhaul, it's more important now than ever that we pay attention and reject any infrastructure plans that put corporations before public health and welfare.

We have worked with our partners to develop resources that you can use to protect water from privatization in your community. Over the coming months, we will be providing further opportunities to take action in support of making water public, safe, and affordable for all.

We hope that A Tale of Two Cities inspires you to learn more about the water in your life: where it comes from, how it's managed, and how it connects you to those around you. Please watch the film, share it with your friends (Facebook / Twitter), and consider hosting a screening in your community!


Miranda Fox,
A Tale of Two Cities Director & Campaigns Manager

Go deeper:

Research guide:
Learn more about privatization, the Flint water crisis, and Nestlé in Michigan

Learn more about Nestlé’s impacts in Evart, MI

Sample resolution:
Download and pass this sample resolution in your community to promote safe, clean, and affordable public water!