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Spurred by decades of inaction and continued exposure to unsafe drinking water, community leaders from California’s disadvantaged communities (DACs) advocated for the creation of a human right to water under state law. Shortly thereafter, the California Legislature put forward a bond to finance much needed water infrastructure improvements and drought relief interventions across the state. Voters approved the $7.45 billion bond, which reserved millions of dollars of funding for DACs with persistent water quality problems. In setting aside those funds, the Legislature acknowledged that decades of disinvestment in rural, disadvantaged communities had created severe water contamination, limited water access, and degraded water infrastructure. The bond’s initiating legislation tacitly recognized that taxing DAC residents was futile; those residents had the fewest resources available to address the disinvestment that compounded their water inequality.


Law | State and Local Government Law | Water Law