Water Mining in the Desert is a proposed feature length documentary that reveals the damage unsustainable water mining has on desert springs and the plants and wildlife that depend upon them. 


Social Issues: Water, wildlife and plant conservation, water colonization, national park and monument protection.


Target Audience: Outdoor enthusiasts, environmental activists, outdoor or conservation oriented film festival audiences, video curricula for academic settings. 


Logline: To slack the unquenchable thirst of growing populations in the desert southwest, water is pumped from the heart of the desert, drying up rare springs and the life that depends upon them for their survival. 


Synopsis: Water is life. That is true anywhere, but that is especially true in the desert. Many metropolitan areas throughout the Western Unites States rely on long distance imported water to fuel their growth. This modern-day form of colonialism not only disempowers communities, it destroys important habitat that nourishes abundant life. 


One great irony of many deserts is that despite the aridity on the surface, there is abundant water found underground. Collecting in tremendous aquifers, this water thousands of years old. This fossil water is irreplaceable. Increasingly this water is disappearing because of increased ground water pumping. This ancient and ephemeral water is used to maintain the mirage that LA, Palm Springs and Las Vegas are not in fact in the desert. 


We follow scientists and environmental activists in the field as they explore the springs threated by unsustainable water mining. We discover the wildlife and plants that depend upon these springs for their survival and feel the strong sense of place inherit to these springs.


Through in person interviews and personal accounts, we learn about the ongoing and proposed water mining operations in desert regions throughout the Western United States. We learn about the risks to the springs in the region, to newly created National Monuments and how recent water mining efforts are gaining steam under a new administration. 


Through the success story of one conservation success story, Devils Hole in Death Valley National Park and Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, we find inspiration in knowing complex and difficult regional water issues have been resolved in the past and provide guidance to how they can be in the future. 

Cadiz Valley and Wilderness, Bureau of Land Management, California

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge

Cadiz Dunes Wilderness, Bureau of Land Management, California