Bridging the Safe Drinking Water Gap for California's Rural Poor

19 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2019

Date Written: January 1, 2018


Despite the passage of the Human Right to Water in 2012, thousands of low-income, rural Californians continue to lack access to safe and affordable drinking water. Because the State's approach to providing safe drinking water has focused on rural communities' proximity to cities, more remote communities often fall through this policy gap.

This commentary argues that advocates and policymakers must look to a broader array of possible water providers to redress water inequality in disadvantaged, rural communities that are located more than three miles from a city’s borders. It briefly describes the land development patterns that drove the creation of these "remote" communities, argues that the State must take into account those histories when crafting its approach to providing reliable drinking water, and suggests policies for addressing water inequality.

Keywords: Drinking Water, Poverty, San Joaquin Valley, Rural California, Municipal Underbounding, Racial Exclusion, Legal Geography

Suggested Citation

Pannu, Camille, Bridging the Safe Drinking Water Gap for California's Rural Poor (January 1, 2018). Hastings West-Northwest Journal of Environmental Law & Policy, Vol. 24, No. 2, Jan 2018, Available at SSRN:

Camille Pannu (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th St
NEW YORK, NY 10027

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