Some wonderful films are lined up for the ECCA Film Evening on Thursday 8th June, which is being held in partnership with the Glasgow Science Festival. Here we highlight one of the three short films in the second part of the evening: the internationally acclaimed ‘Aghbalou- The Source of Water’ by Chouette Films. This takes audiences to a small river oasis on the southern slopes of the High Atlas Mountains in the Todgha Valley in Morocco. The film explores traditional irrigation practices while raising some important questions about water security. It also introduces the concept of ‘virtual water’, which is the water used to create the goods and services that we consume and use, and helps us to see how this concept is relevant to us today regardless of where we live.

Professor Bruce Lankford of the University of East Anglia is a member of the UK Irrigation Association which brought the film to life. He describes it as “a wonderfully thought-provoking and beautifully-made film about water and about the multiple connections between water and society. Looked at more closely, this film is about ‘science wars’ in agricultural water management. The film captures the question ‘what are the appropriate and sustainable technologies for smallholder marginalised irrigators and in meeting regional and global food security’? In tackling this fundamental question, the film shows the ‘wheels within wheels’ of irrigation systems; that it is not easy to draw up and judge irrigation policies because of systems complexity”.

Indeed, agricultural developments can be both an opportunity and a possible threat to the rural poor. Prof Lankford added: “I’ve worked in this field for many years and have realised one can easily be humbled and fascinated by the ingenuity of farmers and societies seeking to manage water carefully. But this requires people like me, so-called specialists, to be observant and not to interpret the diversity of local technologies as backward or wasteful. This film allows audiences to see the problem-solving of ‘waterists’, a term I use to describe the water users who experiment with ideas; picking up, using and discarding solutions pushed by engineers, drip kit sellers, economists, and social scientists”.

Explore the many issues discussed in the film and hear perspectives from indigenous peoples, sustainability scientists and filmmakers.

(Read more on the concept of being a ‘waterist’ in Lankford, B. (2013) Resource efficiency complexity and the commons: The Paracommons and Paradoxes of Natural Resource Losses, Wastes and Wastages, Routledge.)

Event details

Glasgow Science Festival – Climate Change Cinema: Shorts
How can we adapt to climate change? Explore the issues and hear perspectives from American indigenous peoples, sustainability scientists and filmmakers with this series of short films, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A.

Venue: Kelvin Hall Lecture Theatre, Glasgow University

Thurs 8 June, 20:00-21:30

Details and free tickets available from the Glasgow Science Festival website here

See also Part 1 of the ECCA Film Evening here