Drought and Equity in the San Francisco Bay Area

Published: June 2016

Authors: Heather Cooley, Kristina Donnelly, Salote Soqo, and Colin Bailey

Pages: 29



The most severe drought in California on the instrumental record stretched from 2012-2016. The drought was highly publicized, with particular attention paid towards impacts on agriculture, urban areas, and ecosystems. Little attention, however, was paid to the drought’s impacts on California’s low-income communities.

Through community-based participatory research conducted along with the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water, this report documents the impacts of the drought on low-income residents in the San Francisco Bay Area. It finds that drought conditions underscore the existing inequities in water systems, with affordability and water infrastructure conditions key concerns. This report can serve as a tool for water managers, community members, policymakers, and advocacy groups to analyze and improve the equity of water services and drought mitigation measures.


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