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<v Speaker>The sluggish brown skinned river finds its way through the silver <v Speaker>cactus desert, lends its weight to the dams and the lands <v Speaker>of the thirsty eyed men. <v Speaker>The river spare and strange counters dust and <v Speaker>death with tremulous pools for the ?curanderos? <v Speaker>Pigeons. <v Speaker>The river and the people combine the river <v Speaker>swallows time. <v Speaker>So much depends on the snow in Colorado. <v Narrator>Every morning,Maria Sylvia Alanis comes to draw water from the cistern
<v Narrator>in her front yard. <v Narrator>For six years, she, her husband and their five children <v Narrator>have been living alongside a cucumber field. <v Narrator>The house is north of the town of Mission in the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas near <v Narrator>the Mexican border. <v Narrator>They are poor, as are most farm workers here. <v Narrator>And what one observer has called the last bastion of feudalism in America. <v Narrator>Ricardo Alanis earns perhaps 80 dollars a week when there is work. <v Narrator>But the work is seasonal, so often there is nothing. <v Narrator>The children are malnourished. <v Narrator>Life is harsh and unrewarding for all the Alanis' must <v Narrator>endure, There's something else that makes life dangerous.
<v Narrator>The water that fills their cistern comes from an irrigation canal about 50 <v Narrator>yards behind the house. Part of the elaborate irrigation system which supplies water <v Narrator>to the cucumber field. <v Narrator>The water in the canals makes the land lush and profitable, but it <v Narrator>comes from the Rio Grande River, filthy, untreated water <v Narrator>polluted by the sewage dumped into the river by cities on both sides of the border. <v Narrator>Maria Alanis, her husband and their children do not have <v Narrator>clean water. <v Narrator>Every morning, instead of turning on the tap in the kitchen, Maria Alanis <v Narrator>leaves the house and walks back through the cucumber field to the canal. <v Narrator>She opens a valve which allows the canal's water to flow into the irrigation ditch <v Narrator>between the field and the house.
<v Narrator>The Alanis' have dug a small trench to divert some of the irrigation water into their <v Narrator>cistern They've rigged the screen in front of a small pipe which <v Narrator>runs underground the last few feet to the cistern where the water is stored. <v Narrator>There are many more families like the Alanis', who have to get their water this way. <v Narrator>Perhaps 75,000 to 100,000 people living in scattered <v Narrator>rural settlements known as colonias must haul water in barrels or <v Narrator>use the canal or dig shallow wells. <v Narrator>This situation results in one of the worst sets of health statistics outside of Calcutta.
<v Narrator>Serious diseases such as typhus, typhoid, polio and leprosy <v Narrator>virtually wiped out everywhere else in America, are common in the Rio Grande <v Narrator>Valley. The reason, say many of the local doctors and health <v Narrator>administrators, is the lack of clean water for drinking, cooking, <v Narrator>bathing and cleaning. <v Narrator>This represents the cruelest dimension of life for Mexican Americans in the Rio <v Narrator>Grande Valley across the Missouri Pacific Railroad tracks usually <v Narrator>on the north, sides are Los pueblos mexicanos. <v Narrator>The Mexican towns, many created by law 50 years ago, <v Narrator>together with the colonias. <v Narrator>This is where America's poorest people live. <v Narrator>According to the United States Department of Commerce, the nation's three poorest <v Narrator>metropolitan areas are located here.
<v Narrator>The per capita income is about twenty three hundred dollars a year. <v Narrator>Less than half of the national average in the rural areas. <v Narrator>It's worse. <v Narrator>The reasons for this are a complicated mesh of historical, cultural and geographical <v Narrator>factors worsened by rigid economic realities in <v Narrator>this part of the country. <v Narrator>The economics worked to create a system which not only denies people a chance at some <v Narrator>of the things which make life worth living, it actually works to move them toward <v Narrator>dying. They call it <v Narrator>El valle de las lágrimas,The Valley of Tears. <v Narrator>The whites or Anglos call it the Magic Valley because the valley <v Narrator>has become another one of America's boom towns, ironically, the boom <v Narrator>is based on water. <v Narrator>The Anglo minority, perhaps 20 percent of the population, controls the area <v Narrator>economically and politically. <v Narrator>They also control the water and thus have had a great effect on the beginning of the
<v Narrator>water supply problem. <v Narrator>And what efforts there have been to solve it. <v Narrator>Water has made the lower Rio Grande Valley one of the most productive agricultural <v Narrator>areas in the world. The land was always good and alluvial fan <v Narrator>with rich deep topsoil, with the addition of elaborate irrigation systems <v Narrator>and upriver dams, cultivated land and farm cash income has doubled <v Narrator>in the past 20 years. <v Narrator>There's been a dramatic increase in industrial development as well. <v Narrator>Company after company has been relocating here. <v Narrator>Drawn by low wage scales and trade advantages. <v Narrator>And with an average January temperature of 65 degrees, the valley has been <v Narrator>promoted as and is becoming the new Miami. <v Narrator>Bank deposits and retail sales have doubled in the past five years alone. <v Narrator>Nobody knows this story better than Texas Citrus Cooperative executive Mike Wallace and <v Narrator>lower Rio Grande Valley Chamber of Commerce Vice president Russell Willis.
<v Mike Wallace>Without water, the valley would not exist. <v Mike Wallace>Very frankly, without water, citrus would not exist. <v Mike Wallace>That just needs an adequate supply of water. <v Mike Wallace>And the whole valley is based on this supply of water. <v Mike Wallace>I would assume that without water we would be just scrub country the way it was many <v Mike Wallace>years ago. <v Russell Willis>If you didn't have the water in the lower Rio Grande Valley would be impossible to raise <v Russell Willis>the three, four crops a year that we do. <v Russell Willis>And of course, that's our number one industry and number one source of income. <v Russell Willis>So water is just absolutely essential for the lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. <v Narrator>But when people like Wallace and Willis talk about water in the Rio Grande being <v Narrator>essential, they mostly mean essential for growing money. <v Narrator>It's taken for granted that people had water that's safe enough to drink. <v Narrator>Many people do not. They live in the colonias, perhaps 75 <v Narrator>to 100 settlements scattered throughout the valley. <v Narrator>Some are unnoticed miles from the nearest town and others are now bumping
<v Narrator>up against the incorporated areas. <v Narrator>The familiar State Health Department signs are never seen. <v Narrator>Along the dusty, rutted roads that lead to the colonias, although a few <v Narrator>of them have been settled for some time now, they first began mushrooming about 25 <v Narrator>years ago. Spurred on by two successive events, the first <v Narrator>was the decline of the Petrona system. <v Narrator>Alexandro Moreno runs colonias del valle, the Colonias Advocate <v Narrator>Organization, formed in 1967. <v Alexandro Moreno>There were many persons who were living out on the farms in housing provided by <v Alexandro Moreno>the patron the owner of the of the farm through time. <v Alexandro Moreno>As he noticed that it was getting too expensive. <v Alexandro Moreno>He began to sell the houses <v Alexandro Moreno>to the people and also to knock down some of these houses and to <v Alexandro Moreno>take pieces of land and subdivide them. <v Narrator>Then in 1953, a piece of high priced engineering came along <v Narrator>the Falcon dam. It increased cultivated acreage and with it
<v Narrator>the demand for farm labor, nickel and dime real estate operators <v Narrator>bought cheap land and sold it to the newly arrived farmhands, exploiting <v Narrator>the migrant workers desire for a piece of land of their own. <v Narrator>The tiny Lots price to sell went for as little as fifty dollars down <v Narrator>and five dollars a month. <v Narrator>Public health director for the Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Paul Musgraves. <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>Obviously, these people seek a place to live and they have done that. <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>And I think to their credit, they have sought a place within their means <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>and their means, of course, is limited. <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>And hence they have congregated in what has come to be known in the <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>colonias, which are not the higher socially [unclear] levels of the <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>valley. <v Narrator>Bill Parrish, general manager of an irrigation district. <v Bill Parrish>I do think that the people who sold them the land failed to explain to them <v Bill Parrish>that there weren't any services suitable for a dense
<v Bill Parrish>residential kind of development. <v Bill Parrish>They didn't tell him about the various taxes that existed and this sort of thing. <v Bill Parrish>So perhaps the people who bought in the <v Bill Parrish>colonias were not as well-informed as they could have been. <v Narrator>That's for sure, that people had to locate their colonias in unincorporated, <v Narrator>unregulated areas that had no water service or sewers or indoor plumbing <v Narrator>or proper drainage. And the situation still prevails today. <v Narrator>Dan Hawkins, who's been running tu clínica familiar, your family clinic since <v Narrator>1971. <v Dan Hawkins>The major single cause of these problems is the water. <v Dan Hawkins>The vast majority of the people living out in rural areas are drinking water, either <v Dan Hawkins>drawn from canals which are used to irrigate the fields and are laced with insecticides. <v Dan Hawkins>And they have bacteria from fecal matter from the cows and the animals out <v Dan Hawkins>there, or from a rain barrel, which is also subject to the
<v Dan Hawkins>same sorts of problems, or from shallow wells, which often run three to five feet and <v Dan Hawkins>may perhaps as deep as 20 feet under the ground. <v Dan Hawkins>The problem is that these shallow wells are often located close to the house and there's <v Dan Hawkins>something else that's located close to the house, and that's the outdoor privy. <v Dan Hawkins>In most rural areas, they don't have running water, so they don't have indoor plumbing. <v Dan Hawkins>And the problem there is, of course, that the bacteria from the fecal matter will run <v Dan Hawkins>through the water table and contaminate the water that's being taken up to be used for <v Dan Hawkins>bathing and drinking and what have you. <v Narrator>Here are results of tests done a few years ago on the water from two shallow <v Narrator>wells in two different colonias. <v Narrator>In both cases, the Hidalgo County Health Department found the water contaminated <v Narrator>by coliform bacteria. <v Narrator>As the health department notes at the bottom of the report, water of satisfactory <v Narrator>bacteriological quality should be free from coliform organisms. <v Narrator>Another means of getting water is to haul it in from wherever they can get it. <v Narrator>Sometimes the drive can be 10 miles or more.
<v Narrator>Three or four times a week they go in battered pickups to a store, <v Narrator>a gas station or a friend's house in town, wherever they can find a source <v Narrator>of clean water. <v Narrator>They haul and store the water in discarded 55 gallon drums, which in <v Narrator>some cases were used to hold the toxic pesticides sprayed on the fields. <v Narrator>If people are lucky, there's a tap along the main road running by the colonia, <v Narrator>like this one in Colonia Balboa, provided by the city of McCallan, where <v Narrator>Pedro Ibanez comes to get water for his wife and three children. <v Narrator>Ibanez is a farm worker who's been in the United States for 20 years. <v Narrator>The last seven as a resident of Balboa get wet. <v Pedro Ibanez>We're lucky that the public water hydrant is this close to our house. <v Pedro Ibanez>Of course, if I had the money, I would buy a house within the inner city <v Pedro Ibanez>for water and indoor bathrooms are already in service.
<v Narrator>Here's a letter from the Hidalgo County Health Department sent to support a grant <v Narrator>application for a Colonial's water system. <v Narrator>The letter says that water is stored in rusty barrels that are open and exposed <v Narrator>to animals and dust and filled with mosquito larva and fecal contamination. <v Narrator>It is impossible, the letter concluded for the residents to practice good personal <v Narrator>hygiene earlier that day. <v Narrator>Ubon News made one of his frequent trips to Dr. Ramiro Caso, who runs a busy <v Narrator>clinic in the McAllen barrio. <v Narrator>This time the visit was to treat Jose Angel, his three year old son, <v Narrator>who's been sick a good deal of his life. <v Narrator>The boy has been to Castro's office with several water related diseases stomach <v Narrator>parasites and skin infections, plus pneumonia and several bouts of flu. <v Narrator>And if there is sometimes not enough water for health, sometimes there <v Narrator>is too much. <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>The outhouses will flood. <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>You actually get a foot or two of water in these colonias and the
<v Dr. Ramiro Caso>outhouses are flooded and you actually get stool <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>outside and these people's yards where kids are playing and people are walking. <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>So actually you have kids actually playing in their own stool and walking <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>through their own stool when you get that kind of situation because of improper drainage. <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>Because of the presence of outhouses, many of the <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>organisms, the infected organisms, bacteria and viral <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>are transmitted through stool. <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>And unfortunately, stool is is the worst <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>contaminant of water that is not properly purified. <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>And that is available in the irrigation canals and places like that where a lot of the <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>colonia people get their water supply. <v Narrator>This environment creates some discouraging statistics. <v Narrator>Infant mortality, one hundred twenty five percent above the national <v Narrator>average. Tuberculosis, 250 percent of the national
<v Narrator>average. Flu and pneumonia, 200 percent. <v Narrator>Typhus, typhoid, polio, leprosy. <v Narrator>All much more prevalent here than anywhere else in the nation. <v Narrator>Still, some people aren't convinced that it's that bad. <v Narrator>The state's director of public health in the Valley, Dr. Paul Musgraves. <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>Well, yes, I. I think that what's been said <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>and written about the colonias has been somewhat <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>exaggerated in terms of health, which is our primary responsibility. <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>If the water these people are drinking, <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>is indeed dangerous. We aren't seeing this reflected in the incidence of <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>hepatitis and the waterborne type gastroenteritis problems that you would <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>expect to see. <v Dan Hawkins>I'm sorry, I don't want to run counter to what a public <v Dan Hawkins>health official is saying, but we see it here in the clinic.
<v Dr. Paul Musgraves>We don't see it in terms of disease or do we see people who are <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>chronically malnourished. <v Dan Hawkins>They don't. They suffer from inadequate nutrition. <v Dr. Paul Musgraves>They are, for the most part, healthy people. <v Dan Hawkins>Probably among the sickest people in the state of Texas. <v Narrator>The problems of the people in the colonias have a historical basis. <v Narrator>They began about 200 years ago when the Spanish chased out the Indians along the Rio <v Narrator>Grand and settle down along the river. <v Narrator>The valley slumbered then until 1984, when the St. Louis, Brownsville and <v Narrator>Mexico Railroad was completed, connecting the valley to Houston and the rest of the <v Narrator>country, refrigerated boxcars now could deliver produce to distant markets. <v Narrator>Land speculators and irrigation companies descended on the valley. <v Narrator>The Anglo dominated businesses turned for the first time to the cheap and abundant labor <v Narrator>available across the border for a few pesos a day. <v Narrator>The men and mules laid the tracks and cut down the mesquite and prickly pear, preparing <v Narrator>the land for a harvest they would never enjoy.
<v Narrator>Later came the traditional land promoters buying up the land and subdividing <v Narrator>it for home sites. <v Narrator>In the 1950s, a new boom began and it began with agriculture. <v Narrator>A new upriver dam provided a sure and steady supply of water. <v Narrator>Newer and more modern packing plants were built to handle the produce pouring out of the <v Narrator>fields. Each town scrambled for industrial parks to attract light <v Narrator>industry and tourism known locally as the winter Texan trade <v Narrator>took off. <v Narrator>The tourists, mostly from the Midwest, now spend all or part of the winter <v Narrator>in the trailer parks scattered through the orange groves, pouring 26 million <v Narrator>dollars a year into the valley's economy. <v Narrator>In the colonias, meanwhile, not much happened, but curanderos <v Narrator>or faith healers operated as they had always done and along with the church, <v Narrator>took hold. <v Narrator>The settlements looking more permanent all the time ,aintain the flavor of the people's <v Narrator>rural origins.
<v Narrator>Then in the mid 60s came the first stirrings of Mexican-American political activism <v Narrator>in the Valley. <v Narrator>In 1966, the farmworkers strike, then school <v Narrator>walkouts, and in 1970, Alejandro Moreno <v Narrator>ran for Hidalgo County commissioner on the Raza Unida party ticket. <v Narrator>Raza Unida had already taken over one south Texas county, and thereafter it became <v Narrator>evident that the Anglo establishment would be in continual confrontation with the <v Narrator>colonias and their leaders. <v Narrator>One of the first of these encounters took place with an irrigation district, <v Narrator>though districts deal primarily with intricate irrigation systems. <v Narrator>They're also permitted under the law to provide drinking water if they choose to <v Narrator>do so. In this case, they did not. <v Narrator>The district sponsored a bill which passed in the legislature. <v Narrator>The new law allowed them to exclude urban property. <v Narrator>In other words, the colonias from their districts. <v Narrator>David Hall is an attorney with Texas Rural Legal aid in Weslaco representing
<v Narrator>the colonias. <v David Hall>Well, they went to two representatives, one in the House and one in the Senate <v David Hall>at that time and sold them a bill designed, as they said, <v David Hall>to eliminate the taxation upon their <v David Hall>poorer residents of the colonias. <v David Hall>And the device for doing that, of course, was to throw them out of the districts <v David Hall>and not remove any political influence that they might have had. <v David Hall>One of the districts admitted that they were concerned about the, quote, <v David Hall>political mischief that the colonias residents <v David Hall>could cause by voting themselves into office and jacking <v David Hall>up the tax rates on a farm property and are paying for <v David Hall>water improvements in their area. <v David Hall>But what it really came down to is they were afraid how these people are going to vote. <v Bill Parrish>No, no, I don't think they don't think that it was <v Bill Parrish>primarily a matter of economics. And, of course, it certainly was unfair <v Bill Parrish>to keep people in the district and not be able to serve them and still have to charge
<v Bill Parrish>them. <v Narrator>Parrish's district went ahead and excluded 40 tracks as urban property, thus <v Narrator>eliminating one way the colonias might have obtained clean water. <v Narrator>Hall appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court in April 1976. <v Narrator>Two justices voted to hear the case, but four votes are needed before a case <v Narrator>will be reviewed. The colonias next tried to piggyback on industrial park <v Narrator>development grants. The City of West Lykos application included plans to extend <v Narrator>waterlines, which in part would serve two colonias. <v Narrator>Llano Grande and Agua Dulce Both of which were <v Narrator>excluded by the irrigation district. <v Narrator>But what does the word serve mean? <v Narrator>The city thinks it means a six inch water line running down the main road between <v Narrator>the two colonias. The colonias think it means the six inch main plus <v Narrator>waterlines in front of their homes. <v Narrator>Without these lines, the water main out on the highway might as well be <v Narrator>on the moon.
<v Narrator>Since the residents can't afford to pay for a water system to reach the main road. <v Narrator>In the Rio Grande Valley, disputes like this usually go against the poor. <v Narrator>The April 6th, 1976 meeting of the Weslaco City Commission. <v Narrator>Texas rural Legal Aid attorney Oscar Alvarez. <v Oscar Alvarez>In page two. I'd like to read it says and <v Oscar Alvarez>to provide water services to a rapidly developing commercial area in southeast Weslaco <v Oscar Alvarez>containing two colonias. <v Oscar Alvarez>That's on page two of your application. <v Oscar Alvarez>Now hat to me reads like they're going to get water. <v Oscar Alvarez>It's written in black and white. There was a promise to the two Colonial's that they were <v Oscar Alvarez>gonna get water and it hasn't been done. <v Narrator>Weslaco City Commissioner Hector Fargus. <v Hector Fargus>We normally provide water through <v Hector Fargus>outerways as alleys or streets, whichever the case might be. <v Hector Fargus>The tapping is left up to the property owner, Am I
<v Hector Fargus>correct- Could these have been what was proposed <v Hector Fargus>in the can this grant <v Hector Fargus>request? I think I agree that it's vague- <v Oscar Alvarez>The application said if it's vague, it should be interpreted in favor of these <v Oscar Alvarez>residents, not not against them. <v Oscar Alvarez>They didn't write the application. The city did. <v Narrator>And city attorney Gaines Griffin. <v Gains Griffin>I think the main problem here is caused by interpretation of the word serve. <v Gains Griffin>They serve the colonias, of course, and our grant application, we <v Gains Griffin>did show exactly what we were going to do <v Gains Griffin>with this money. We showed we're gonna have that trunk line out there and we do have that <v Gains Griffin>trunk line out there. And I think the real question here is what more are we going to do, <v Gains Griffin>if anything? <v Narrator>It should be remembered that Although Weslaco and the irrigation districts did not <v Narrator>respond to the need for clean water. <v Narrator>They did not directly create the colonias.
<v Narrator>As we've seen, history, culture, geography and the economic system have done <v Narrator>that. <v Narrator>Dr. Josey Gonzalez, who grew up in the Valley, is the director of Chicano studies <v Narrator>at Southern Methodist University. <v Dr. Josey Gonalez>That the system, in fact, I think creates the culture of poverty and very much the same <v Dr. Josey Gonalez>way that it creates colonies. <v Dr. Josey Gonalez>And we can have colonies abroad or we can have colonies internally. <v Dr. Josey Gonalez>The colonias serve the purposes of this society. <v Dr. Josey Gonalez>They are not benign purposes. <v Narrator>Will the people who live on the valley's back streets ever have clean water? <v Narrator>Maybe rural water systems may give some of them a chance at it. <v Narrator>But even if waterlines are in, the residents of the colonias, half of whom <v Narrator>live below the poverty level, will have to pay for the connections from the street <v Narrator>to their homes in Balboa, only a handful of houses are <v Narrator>hooked up to the city water main because they must have indoor toilets before the <v Narrator>city will connect them. And of course, there's always the border.
<v Narrator>A wave of cheap and willing labor is continually fleeing northern Mexico and its 40 <v Narrator>percent rates of unemployment. <v Narrator>Many of these laborers are illegal aliens. <v Narrator>R. E. Shonenburgher, commissioner for the southern region of the Immigration and <v Narrator>Naturalization Service. <v R. E. Shonenburgher>When you have a large number of illegal <v R. E. Shonenburgher>workers who will work for any under any conditions and under <v R. E. Shonenburgher>for any wage available, it tends to <v R. E. Shonenburgher>greatly displace the people and depress the wage rate, <v R. E. Shonenburgher>the hourly wage rate particularly. <v Narrator>And so the system will continue. <v Narrator>For one side of the water equation, this is fine. <v Narrator>I see nothing but growth and development, and that's not Chamber of Commerce talk. <v Narrator>In all of our surveys that we've run, there's going to be increased industrial <v Narrator>development. That is evident at the present time by the construction programs that are <v Narrator>going on and the expansion of industry. <v Narrator>The growth of the tourism industry. We just don't know how far it's going to go.
<v Narrator>It's just going to go as really as far as we provide for. <v Narrator>For the other side, It is not so fine. <v Narrator>Dr. Ramiro Carso. <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>have to make a basic decision as to what is it that <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>we call a handout and what is it that we do not call a handout. <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>I think that's where the hang up this week. <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>We don't think that that giving medical care to elderly is a handout anymore. <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>We used to think that. I think everybody should have the right to a clean glass <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>of water. I think it should be a very fundamental right. <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>Every American certainly should be entitled to it. <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>Every person should have available to him clean drinking <v Dr. Ramiro Caso>water. <v Narrator>There is a terrible irony in the situation in the fields are both sides <v Narrator>of the water equation. People don't have water for themselves and <v Narrator>their families work on the land surrounded by fruits and vegetables <v Narrator>made possible by the lavish use of irrigation water.
<v Narrator>The expensive irrigation systems of pumps and pipes and canals are <v Narrator>designed and financed and built systems for <v Narrator>purifying and distributing clean water to the people who work in the fields. <v Narrator>By and large, are not, water for plants, <v Narrator>not for people.
A Thirst in the Garden
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"'Thirst in the Garden' is a 30-minute documentary on the Mexican-American rural slums of the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Garden, because this is one of the most productive farming areas in the world. Thirst, because the farmworkers who live in these settlements (known as colonias), do not have clean water for themselves and their families. They must drink out of filthy, polluted irrigation canals, draw water from shallow wells contaminated by nearby outhouses or haul water from wherever they can get it. The result is one of the unhealthiest environments in America. There is plenty of irrigation water for the fields but not much clean water for the people who work there. Polio, hepatitis, leprosy, tuberculosis, parasitic diseases, whooping cough -- serious illnesses virtually wiped out elsewhere in the nation are common here. This documentary explores the reasons why such a situation can exist in one of the richest states in the Union; the historical exploitation of the Mexican-American farmworker; the historical and cultural factors which contribute to the problem; the geographical and economic realities of the Mexican border and so on. How they work to allow the situation to continue, almost unknown and ignored. Almost."--1976 Peabody Awards entry form.
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
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Chicago: “A Thirst in the Garden,” 1976-00-00, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “A Thirst in the Garden.” 1976-00-00. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: A Thirst in the Garden. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from