When the Tap Runs Brown: One LA Community’s Fight for Water Equity


One billion people do not have access to clean water or the privilege to purchase a filtration system to feed their reusable water bottles — this is water equity. Our guests or this episode of EcoJustice Radio are fighting for water equity in the Los Angeles County areas of Compton and Willowbrook, where the taps are running brown and bottled water has become a way of life.

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Many unincorporated or rural communities in California lack the most basic infrastructure, even so close to a major metropolis like Los Angeles. According to PolicyLink, a foundation promoting economic and social equity, there are thousands of unincorporated communities throughout the U.S., mostly Black and Latino, and frequently poor, excluded from city maps — and services. PolicyLink’s 2013 study “California Unincorporated: Mapping Disadvantaged Communities in the San Joaquin Valley” found that 310,000 people live in these communities scattered across the valley.

Compton and Willowbrook share this issue, as home to some of the poorest residents in one of the richest, most economically productive cities in the world. Their history of being excluded from incorporated cities affects their survival around the most critical issue facing them: access to water.

More Info: https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-sativa-bill-governor-20180915-story.html

Angel Jennings, LA Times Reporter
Darik McGhee, 49-year-resident of Compton and community activist. Congresswoman Nanette Barragán, CA-44

Interview by Jessica Aldridge from SoCal 350 and Adventures in Waste
Host and Engineer: JP Morris
Executive Producer: Mark Morris
Music: Javier Kadry
Episode 17

Updated 8 March 2022

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WilderUtopia.com regularly posts articles, photo essays, features, and documentaries from around the web that illuminate the challenges to coexistence between city and wild, developed and developing, human and other. To reach out, write to jack (dot) eidt (at) wilderutopia (dot) com. Follow us on Twitter @WilderUtopia