A documentary from Arizona State University students focuses on the water mining by Middle Eastern companies in the Arizona desert.

First, they depleted their freshwater aquifers. Now, companies from the Middle East are pumping up limited water supplies in the Arizona desert and exporting it back to Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the form of hay.

“Camels Don’t Fly, Deserts Don’t Bloom,” a new documentary produced by seven graduate students at Arizona State University, tracks both the business of exporting water from the Southwest desert and the angry reaction of local residents, who are fast seeing their water disappear. They interviewed me for their 15-minute film that expands on revelations I first reported about Middle Eastern companies mining the limited water in Arizona after similarly depleting aquifers in Saudi Arabia.

The ASU class is a partnership between the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the School of Sustainability. Here is the documentary:

[vimeo 164671735 w=640 h=360]

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Nathan Halverson (he/him) is an Emmy Award-winning producer for Reveal, covering business and finance with a current emphasis on the global food system. Before joining Reveal, Halverson worked on projects for FRONTLINE, the Investigative Reporting Program at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and PBS NewsHour. He was the principal reporter on Reveal's story about the Chinese government’s involvement in the takeover of America’s largest pork company, Smithfield Foods Inc. He was awarded a 2014 McGraw Fellowship by the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and he received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Minnesota. He has won a New York Times Chairman’s Award and has received reporting honors from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, California Newspaper Publishers Association, San Francisco Peninsula Press Club and Associated Press News Executives Council. Halverson is based in Reveal’s Emeryville, California, office.