The 100 Litres YOUR story page was set up so we could open the doors for Water Warriors all around the globe to share their water related stories. This website is not just a sounding board for us, but also a place where people who have an experience, a fight, a tale of how water connects us can put their narrative on display for the world to see and learn from (which is also the purpose of our film). While we’re still in production, this submission page is also a great way to keep the conversation going. Curious who has shared with us so far? From Flint, Michigan to Wicklow, Ireland, check out these excerpts our from first brave contributors’ submissions…
Irish people pay 1.3 billion a year for water through taxes. It is a progressive tax which means the poor pay the least and the rich pay more. Now the government wanted us to pay again, but not a progressive rate. The poor would have to pay a significantly bigger percentage of their earnings for this most basic of human rights. I started to get angry! Very angry…my daughter and I attended a protest against the water charges on a sunny Saturday in October. It was organised by a group made up of communities, politicians and trade unions called Right2Water who are actively seeking the abolishment of water charges. We wondered on the way into Dublin on the train how many would turn up. Would we be a handful of people or maybe a few thousand? When we got off the train we met hundreds, then as we walked towards the widest street in Europe we saw thousands, and thousands, and tens of thousands and I wanted to cry because so many people cared and were like us…I had come to realise that the ultimate goal was to privatise Ireland’s water. We have a lot of water in Ireland. It is our only decent natural resource left to us. We have oil and gas and fish but all of the rights to those resources have been sold to mega companies and Irish People gain nothing from them. In fact Norwegian children benefit more from Irish oil and gas than any Irish child. Sold out from under us! Our water could be protected in our constitution but the government won’t call a simple referendum to do so. They swear they won’t privatize it but [I’m] sure if that was the truth then it would be no big deal to call a referendum. I am under no illusion whatsoever that the plan to sell Ireland’s water has been hatching for some time. I refuse to let that happen. So I am only one of many hundreds of thousands of people who March regularily and actively seek change through their actions. Sometimes the action is small like the click of a mouse to share a post. Other acts are huge. People have done time in prison for our cause. They risk their livelihoods. Their health…I do this for my children. For their future. I do not do it because I don’t believe we should pay for water. Of course we should pay for the provision of water but Irish people already do. Through taxes. I protest and fight because regardless of the law it is the right thing to do. And I can’t give up now. We are so close. I can smell it. ~Maureen Griffin – Wicklow, Ireland
On April 25, 2014 the City of Flint began using the Flint River as our water source. Immediately the residents noticed odor and discoloration of the water. Summer of 2014 there were boil advisories issued. Residents were becoming very ill and seeking medical attention. We were notified in late December that the City of Flint was in VIOLATION of the Safe Drinking Water Act. We failed water testing for 9 months until it was the LAW to notify citizens to consult with their doctors before use. We protested and marched for clean water on Feb 14 2015 along side Robert Bowcock from Erin Brokovich’s team…The citizens were ignored and health care was rising. Water warriors inquired with Virginia Tech about independent water testing. One mother had a reading of 13,000ppm of LEAD. Her children were exposed to hazardous waste and the damage is irreversible. A study was also done at Hurley Hospital showing 1800 children under 5 who tested high levels of lead in their blood. The city started paying attention in Oct. 2015. Flint got the funding it needed to switch back to Detroit approved and we switched too…Our water warriors rallied testing from Virginia Tech to do an independent study of 300 samples of water. That is more than double what Flint samples out of 30,000 water customers. The test results showed high lead. The head pediatrician at Hurley said she noticed 1800 children with very high lead levels. The state (mdeq) down played her and the Virginia Tech water tests. Finally they listened and declared a public health emergency. They gave us 50,000 filters to use while they try to get rid of lead leaching into the water by 15,000 lead lines…Now we have thousands with IRREVERSIBLE damage…A new generation of people exposed for 18 months without knowing. Anyway, now rigorous testing is being done at the federal level on water quality. The laws were simply too lax and the testing was botched to pass guidlines. We continue to filter and hope that no more symptoms arise. My whole household has been hospitalized and every person I know that actually lives in Flint has been sick or dealing with infections. So now we wait…by Thanksgiving we will have full on Detroit water!!!! Everyone knew the river was crappy!!!! Oh well, behind us now, but our city will have consequences that last decades. I am ready to move…my kids will never trust the water again…no matter what…so I have to move. Lead in the lines means I will not be able to sell my home. I will walk away after 17 years. Our health is more important. Total loss, but a new adventure awaits me!! ~Maegan Wilson – Flint, Michigan
Real change in this fight for access to clean, affordable drinking water starts with US. As we get more stories in, we will put them up on the YOUR story page, so the discussion can continue. Have a tale to tell? We want to hear from YOU.
100 Litres isn’t just a movie, it’s a movement.