Water Equity Clearinghouse

Pacific Institute


The Pacific Institute is a think tank operating at a global scale that seeks to address the world’s most pressing water challenges. The Institute combines science-based thought leadership with active outreach to influence local, national, and international efforts to develop sustainable water policies. The Institute has worked with a range of stakeholders—from Fortune 500 companies to community-based organizations—to warn policy makers of the dangers of climate change, promote integrated water management, improve companies’ water stewardship practices, and help governments cope with increasingly severe drought conditions.

Efforts to Advance Water Equity

The Pacific Institute has a great many reports, studies, and research papers on many different areas of water equity, including water affordability, water and sanitation challenges around the world, and climate resilience strategies for communities.

For example, their study Assessing Water Affordability: A Pilot Study in Two Regions of California is a closer look at how policy makers measure affordability for neighborhoods, and the implications this has on families’ ability to pay. The study finds that a significant number of areas in water systems have unaffordable rates and calls for additional efforts to address financing concerns of water systems.

Another study analyzes the disproportionate harm caused by contaminated drinking water in low-income communities in the San Joaquin Valley. The Human Costs of Nitrate-Contaminated Drinking Water in the San Joaquin Valley shares findings on how nitrate contamination of groundwater has wide reaching effects on public health in California, exposing the need to reevaluate regulatory programs for irrigated land.

A third study, Drought and Equity in California, is the first statewide analysis of the impacts of the drought on California’s most vulnerable communities. The report finds that during the state’s recent drought from 2012-2016, water shortages and price hikes affected access to safe, affordable water, with substantial impacts on low-income families and communities burdened with environmental pollution. Additionally, the decline and variability of salmon populations affected those dependent on the fish for income, food, and cultural traditions.