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Penn State documentary addresses nation’s 'water blues'

by on February 06, 2014 9:23 AM

UNIVERSITY PARK — The nation’s potable water sources are chronically threatened by an out-of-date water infrastructure, storm water runoff and record-breaking droughts. Filmmakers at Penn State Public Media recognized this environmental dilemma and produced an interactive documentary project exploring how cities across the country are adopting innovative green solutions for their water blues.

“Water Blues, Green Solutions” takes the viewer on a journey to Philadelphia, Portland, Ore., San Antonio and the Bronx showcasing communities that are using green infrastructure — land conservation, green roofs, rain gardens, porous surfaces and other methods — to remedy the challenges of flooding, pollution and scarcity.

The documentary will air at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13, on WPSU-TV. The film has been distributed to public broadcasting stations nationwide, and additional air dates will be listed on the “Water Blues” website at as they become available. Air dates have already been confirmed in Los Angeles, Denver and Kansas City.

"Water Blues, Green Solutions" is narrated by Majora Carter, an urban revitalization strategist and Peabody Award-winning broadcaster.

“We want ‘Water Blues’ to attract a national audience to move people to think differently,” said Frank Christopher, the film’s director, producer and writer. “I want people to ask the question, ‘Why aren’t we doing that?’”

As part of Penn State Public Media’s outreach efforts, the 60-minute film is also available for community screenings and events. Several screenings have already been scheduled for Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C. and San Antonio, Texas, among others.

Penn State Public Media filmmakers traveled across the country in search of innovative "green solutions."

Penn State Public Media has launched an in-depth website that allows visitors to create their own virtual experiences of the film’s locations and themes. Loaded with extra footage and new, interactive ways to explore “Water Blues,” the site additionally includes an online toolkit designed to help organize and promote screenings. Stories produced by public radio stations across the country through the project’s grant initiative can also be found online.

The “Water Blues, Green Solutions” documentary and related outreach efforts received major funding from Colcom Foundation and Subaru of America, with additional support from William Penn Foundation, National Association of Clean Water Agencies,and Park Foundation.

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