Directed by Liz Miller • Documentary • 2008 • 53 minutes
What if you lived by the largest body of fresh water in the world but could no longer afford to use it?
With a shrinking population, the post-industrial city of Highland Park, Michigan is on the verge of financial collapse. The state of Michigan has appointed an Emergency Financial Manager who sees the water plant as key to economic recovery. She has raised water rates and has implemented severe measures to collect on bills. As a result, Highland Park residents have received water bills as high as $10,000, they have had their water turned off, their homes foreclosed, and are struggling to keep water, a basic human right, from becoming privatized.
The Water Front is the story of an American city in crisis but it is not just about water. The story touches on the very essence of our democratic system and is an unnerving indication of what is in store for residents around the world facing their own water struggles. The film raises questions such as: Who determines the future of shared public resources? What are alternatives to water privatization? How will we maintain our public water systems and who can we hold accountable?