Published On: Mon, Aug 1st, 2016

Discovery’s ‘Killing the Colorado’ premieres on August 4

WATER FOR SALE – Directed by Alan Raymond and Susan Raymond

In recent years, the practice of water trading has risen—partially, because investors see Western shortages as a chance to make a hefty profit, but also because market mechanisms may provide a possible solution for communities suffering from water shortages.

Now a billion-dollar business, water trading echoes the demand for cheap oil in the 20th century. Early water trades saw whole communities seemingly swindled out of their water and going dry, transforming once-prosperous places into ghost towns.  KILLING THE COLORADO spotlights Crowley, Colorado, a cautionary tale of a town that lost everything when it sold its water rights to the highest bidder. This is contrasted against the innovative work of the team at Water Asset Management, a hedge fund that has successfully worked with cities like Prescott Valley, Arizona, to distribute water more equitably.

“Whether it is leasing water or acquiring water rights, there has been more and more active involvement by municipalities to work with the agriculture community to either shore up their water during times of drought or to outright purchase water rights to provide for their long-term needs,” said Mike Connor, U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Interior.

While the situation appears dire, one thing on which almost every party can agree is that this is a manmade problem, so with appropriate planning and innovative thinking we can find manmade solutions. “I’ve come to understand that the shortages are man-made,” explains Lustgarten. “I really think that the majority of the stress on the water system in this part of the country [is] caused by too many people going after too little amount of water. If you buy that, that it’s a man-caused problem, then it means it’s a totally fixable problem.”

KILLING THE COLORADO is produced by Telling Pictures in association with Discovery Studios for Discovery Channel; presented in association with ProPublica; executive producers, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman; writer/producer, Abrahm Lustgarten; lead editor, Bill Weber; line producer Aimee Flaherty; associate producer, Sharon Wood; “Farming the Desert,” directed by Barbara Kopple; producers, Ray Nowosielski, David Cassidy; director of photography, Gary Griffin; “Dammed if You Do,” director, producer and director of photography, Jesse Moss; “Water for Sale,” directed and produced by Alan Raymond and Susan Raymond; director of photography, Alan Raymond.  For Discovery Channel:  supervising producers, Jon Bardin and Alexandra Moss; executive producer, John Hoffman.

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