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“We don’t have to think about how we’re gonna make a profit here. All we have to think about is how we’re gonna provide
a good service to the citizens.” So says Michael McDonald, a veteran water-plant supervisor in Stockton, California, as he decries the city’s $600 million plan to sell its water system. Stockton’s mayor insists the privatization plan will launch a new era
of “customer” service. But McDonald can’t abide the thought of someone profiting by supplying this basic human need.

Stockton’s is just one of three battles pro-filed in this perceptive documentary. Thirst begins in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where Bechtel took over the city’s water supply in 1999, only to have its contract revoked
following violent uprisings over prices. The film also travels to Rajasthan, India’s most arid state, where a populist named Rajendra Singh is leading a boycott of corporate bottled water.

Interspersed are scenes from the World Water Forum in Japan, where development officials scold activists that free water is a fantasy. But Thirst captures the extraordinary lengths citizens will go to to resist water’s conversion into a mere commodity. When it seems that he and his public-water allies have lost their fight in Stockton, Michael McDonald resigns in protest after 26 years on the job.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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