The Struggle for Water Justice in the San Joaquin Valley
Wednesday Speaker Series - Summer Quarter 2019
The UC Davis Water Justice Study analyzed the current and historical social, economic, political and environmental conditions that affects access to safe drinking water in low-income communities located outside of city boundaries in the San Joaquin Valley. It also suggested prospects for policy changes to ensure that the state meets its self-proclaimed Human Right to Water. The lack of city governments makes direct democratic representation, fund development capacity, and availability of basic infrastructure a problem for the health and well-being of over 350,000 residents in these communities. The study found that racial and class discrimination in land use and water management policies have produced disparities in access to safe and affordable drinking water. As a result, drinking water in many of these areas is contaminated by the operations of agriculture, oil and gas industry, as well and naturally occurring toxins such as arsenic and uranium, with upwards to 100,000 residents served by polluted drinking water supplies. The good news is that 66% of these residents live within 1 mile of a source of system with safe drinking water so help is close at hand.