A Journey in the History of Water
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A Journey in the History of Water tells the dramatic story of how the struggle for fresh water has shaped human society to a remarkable extent. This series brings the viewer to about 20 countries all over the world and shows in fascinating variety how people have coped with what is societies' lifeblood - water.

This video is based on the television series "History of Water" which won the Grand Prix on 17th International Environment Film Festival and has been shown in more than 150 countries and sold to about 50 TV-stations, including the National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel and Al Aribya Network.

The video series has been bought by hundreds of insitutions and organisation worldwide - i.e universities, ngo's and international organisations.

A Journey in the History of Water is divided in 4 programmes a 45 minutes. Order the video here!

I. The Struggle
II. The Energy
III. The Myths
IV. The Conflicts

Title: A Journey in the History of Water
Duration: 4 * 45min.
English narration
Manuscript and idea: Professor Terje Tvedt
Director: Terje Dale
Adapted for video: Anders Leines and Terje Tvedt 2001
Produced by Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and University of Bergen 2001 Copyright: Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and University of Bergen


See the introduction. (3,5 min)

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I. The Struggle

No society can exist, not even for one day, without fresh water. This program takes the viewer from unique scenes in the Himalayas, where a sterile expanse of rock has been transformed into an oasis, to the Borana people of southern Ethiopia, who manually draw water for 300,000 people and a million head of cattle from deep, hidden wells. The ancient civilisation of the Nile valley is contrasted with the highly sophisticated methods of irrigation employed by farmers in California. We then progress via the aqueducts and beautiful fountains of Imperial Rome to the old land of the Aztecs and their water civilisation, where today the world's largest metropolis, Mexico City, is sinking due to overuse of groundwater.

II. The Energy

It was a momentous revolution in the history of humankind when the energy in running water came to be exploited. For countless millennia the only power available was human or animal muscle power. This programme takes the viewer on a dramatic boat trip down the Yangtze through the Three Gorges to the world's biggest hydropower dam, and on to the longest canal ever built, the old Emperor Canal. The programme explores the role of the modest water falls and canals in Britain's industrial revolution, before ending up in Norway, a land abundantly endowed with rivers, lakes and waterfalls, and whose development from about 1500 was totally dependent upon different uses of hydro-power.

III. The Myths

The physical and aesthetic properties of water give it a unique mythical-religious potential. It is always in motion, changing in form, colour and quantity, and has therefore played an important role in myths and religious rituals all over the world. This programme starts on the raincoast of Scandinavia to investigate the religion of the Vikings and then goes to the Middle East, home of the monotheistic desert religions. It follows in the biblical footsteps of the Israelites from Jordan to Jericho and discusses the importance of water in Islam. The role of Mother Ganga in Hinduism and the significance of the enormous funeral pyres in the sacred city of Varanasi are shown. The programme also looks at the history of bathing, from Roman times to modern hydrotherapy in Germany. It ends up in France, at Lourdes, where millions of pilgrims flock every year to take the holy water.

IV. The Conflicts

Many argue that future conflicts will be conflicts over fresh water. Others argue that the water question will encourage co-operation. This programme takes the viewer from the desert city, Las Vegas, where urban history rests not only on the casinos, but om water control. Then it proceeds to Lake Victoria in the heart of Africa, to the wonderful Blue Nile falls in Ethiopia, to the greatest swamp in the world in Southern Sudan and to Egypt, to tell the story of past water conflicts on a grand scale. This is followed by a presentation of the water issue in the Israeli-Arab conflict. Then the viewer is taken to a little-known institution - one of the oldest court still functioning in Europe - the water tribunal in Valencia, Spain. The series ends in the deserts of Oman, bringing the viewer to deep underground canals made more than two thousands years ago and to a water auction!

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