7 Best Water Documentaries To Dive Into 

A selection of three top water-related films from water documentary article

Water is one of the most essential resources we have on this planet, yet it’s often taken for granted. 

While about 71% of the earth’s surface is covered by water, only 3% is freshwater

Freshwater is typically found in glaciers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, rivers, streams, wetlands, and groundwater. Though despite only covering 3% of the Earth’s surface, these habitats are actually home to 10% of all known animals and up to 40% of all known fish species, according to World Wildlife Fund

It provides us with drinking water, sustains our crops through irrigation, and generates power through dams. However, the alarming disappearance of these freshwater habitats is putting these essential services and billions of people at risk of losing access to clean and safe water. 

As we face the growing issue of water scarcity and climate change, it’s now more important than ever to raise awareness about the vital role water plays in our daily lives — and the urgent need for action. 

The best way to do this is through the power of storytelling, particularly documentaries.

Documentaries have the unique ability to inform and inspire, while illuminating critical political, social, and economic factors at play, and engaging audiences through visual media. 

From Flint, Michigan to the global water crisis, these documentaries provide a platform for grassroots organizations and frontline communities to show us the firsthand devastation that we may not be exposed to in our day-to-day lives. 

But documentaries also show us hope.

From showcasing innovative solutions, grassroots movements, and resilient individuals fighting for more sustainable and equitable futures, it’s time for us all to join in on these efforts and give water the rightful attention it deserves. 

We’re highlighting some of the best water documentaries that are helping us become a little more informed, inspired, and motivated to fight for a safer and cleaner world for all. 

By the way, some of the links may include affiliate links, which means we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!

Top Documentaries On Clean Water, Oceans, and Sea Creatures To Stream

Brave Blue World: Racing to Solve Our Water Crisis (2020)

Brave Blue World: Racing to Solve Our Water Crisis

“Brave Blue World” explores the global water crisis and highlights scientific and technological strides being made that can help solve our planet’s water crisis. 

Narrated by the one and only Liam Neeson, the film features scientists, engineers, and activists from around the world, including actor Matt Damon, co-founder of Water.org, and actor and musician Jaden Smith, co-founder of 501CThree.

By challenging commonly held assumptions about water and exploring alternative water futures, the documentary aims to change how viewers think about water and inspire action toward ensuring access to clean water and safe sanitation services while protecting the environment.

How to watch: Netflix

There’s Something in the Water (2019)

There’s Something in the Water

Directed by Elliot Page and Ian Daniel, this Canadian documentary delves into environmental racism and water pollution that exists for Black Canadian and First Nations communities in Nova Scotia — and the fearless women at the forefront of ending it.

Based on Ingrid Waldron’s eye-opening study, the film takes us to rural areas of the province — primarily Indigenous and Black communities — plagued by long-hidden toxic fallout caused by industrial development. 

How to watch: Prime Video

A Plastic Ocean (2016)

A Plastic Ocean

Many of us know plastic’s devastating effects on our oceans, waterways, and sensitive (yet wildly resilient) inhabitants. “A Plastic Ocean” follows a devoted team of researchers, journalists, and divers that take a deep dive (pun most definitely intended) into the realities of pollution’s impact on marine life and its ecosystems — including entanglement, ingestion, and habitat destruction. 

The film highlights the urgent need for action to address this issue and provides viewers with steps we can take to reduce our use of plastic and protect the oceans. A perfect watch for World Oceans Day and all year long.

How to watch: Prime Video | Apple TV | Peacock 

Mission Blue (2014)

Mission Blue

Emmy award-winning documentary “Mission Blue” follows Dr. Sylvia Earle, a marine biologist and environmentalist, on her fascinating lifelong mission to protect the world’s oceans. 

Narrated by Dr. Earle herself, the film highlights her early days as a deep-sea diver and works as a leading advocate for ocean conservation.

The documentary showcases the beauty and diversity of our oceans while highlighting the devastating impact of human activity on marine ecosystems. Through Earle’s personal journey and tireless work, the film highlights the urgent need to protect and preserve the oceans and the creatures that call them home. 

It’s a powerful call to action and an inspiring reminder that we all have a role in protecting our planet’s most precious resources.

How to watch: Netflix

Chasing Coral (2017)

Chasing Coral

Often called “the rainforests of the sea,” coral plays a massively critical role in protecting our oceans — and its ecosystems. “Chasing Coral” is a visually stunning and emotionally inspiring documentary that shines a light on the devastating impact of climate change on coral reefs worldwide. 

The film features a team of dedicated divers, photographers, and scientists who are on a mission to document the disappearance of these vital ecosystems, and to raise awareness about the urgent need for action.

Despite the grim reality of coral bleaching, the film also highlights the resilience of these creatures and the potential for recovery with the right interventions. 

Through this captivating journey, “Chasing Coral” shows that it is not too late to save the reefs, and that there is hope for a sustainable future for both these ecosystems and the people who depend on them.

How to watch: Netflix 

Flow: For Love of Water (2008)

Flow: For Love of Water

This award-winning documentary explores the critical issue of water scarcity and its impact on people around the world. The film highlights the struggles faced by communities who lack access to clean and affordable water and the powerful corporate interests that often stand in the way of solutions. 

Through interviews with experts, activists, and everyday people affected by the water crisis, the film exposes the alarming reality of water privatization and the commodification of this precious resource.

With stunning visuals and a powerful message, “Flow” urges viewers to take action to protect our water and to demand access to this basic human right for all. The film is a call to action for individuals, communities, and policymakers to come together to ensure that water remains a public trust, rather than a commodity to be exploited for profit. 

How to watch: Prime Video

FLINT (2020)


Filmed over five years, “FLINT” is the gripping story of the largest water poisoning disaster in American history, as seen through the eyes of those living in Flint, Michigan. 

Through interviews with residents, activists, and experts, the film exposes the failures of government officials and the systemic racism that allowed the crisis to unfold and persist for so long.

“FLINT” also showcases the resilience and strength of the community, as residents come together to demand accountability and fight for justice. It serves as a powerful message and reminder of the importance of clean water and the devastating consequences that come when basic human rights — like access to clean water — are denied. 

How to watch: Prime Video

Article Details

May 31, 2023 3:20 PM
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