US Climate and Health Alliance

Drought and Equity in the San Francisco Bay Area


California is now in the fifth year of a drought of extreme proportions. Cumulative precipitation between 2011 and 2014 was a record low of 40 inches, compared to a historical average of 70 inches (CNAP 2014). Precipitation in late 2015 and early 2016 brought welcome relief, but it was not enough to offset the four-year deficit. Dry conditions have been exacerbated by high temperatures. Calendar years 2014 and 2015 were the hottest and second-hottest years, respectively, on record. The drought is having far-reaching effects, including on the state’s agricultural sector, ecosystems, and urban areas. A key area of concern—but one that has received little attention—is how the drought is affecting low-income communities. To address this gap, the Pacific Institute and the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water partnered with eight community-based organizations to examine the ways in which the drought has affected low-income communities in the San Francisco Bay Area and to identify strategies to mitigate these impacts. This report describes the key issues and concerns identified by our community partners and recommendations for addressing those concerns.

Resource Type
Heather Cooley Kristina Donnelly Salote Soqo Colin Bailey
Resource URL
Pacific Institute
Organization Type
Health and Human Impact
Climate and Environmental Impact
Climate and environmental justice/health equity

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