Measuring Progress Toward Universal Access to Water and Sanitation in California: Defining Goals, Indicators, and Performance Measures

Published: September 2018

Authors: Laura Feinstein

Pages: 73



In 2012, California’s Human Right to Water was passed, calling for safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water for all citizens. Yet while this statute has served as the touchstone for drinking water and sanitation efforts in the state, access to this basic right remains unrealized in many California communities.

This report from the Pacific Institute investigates what realizing the human right to water in California would mean in terms that are concrete, measurable, and aligned with prevailing laws and norms in the state. The approach the author develops is modeled after the service ladder framework employed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) for monitoring progress toward water and sanitation internationally. It offers a range of service levels as a way of measuring progress, and differentiating between the large numbers of people who experience moderate problems and the small numbers with acute problems. The ladders create broad classes of service levels that facilitate communication of broad patterns of variation and identify high-priority areas for policy interventions.


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