Washington, D.C. — As the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina making landfall in New Orleans approaches, the Center for American Progress is taking a closer look at how extreme weather and climate change are affecting the nation at large. Today, CAP turns its attention to California and the lessons we can learn from the climate change and poverty facing the state. In a new report, CAP offers recommendations on how policymakers can lessen the burden the drought has placed on communities of color and low-income people living in tribal, rural, and farming communities.
“California’s drought should serve as a wake-up call for other U.S. states that are at risk for a severe drought, especially in the context of existing economic inequities between residents,” said Wendy Ortiz, former Emerson National Hunger Fellow with CAP’s Poverty to Prosperity team and author of the report. “Low-income communities and communities of color are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to poor-quality housing and infrastructure, proximity to environmental hazards, and economic instability.”
While small and rural communities and agricultural workers are receiving assistance through a recent state drought relief package, there is still more California can do to recognize the unequal impacts the drought has on low-income people living in tribal, rural, and farming communities.
In its report, CAP gives six policy recommendations that address the disparities that California’s low-income and farming communities are facing because of the drought:
- Mandating that the agricultural sector be included in statewide greenhouse gas reduction standards
- Developing water reduction standards for riparian water rights holders
- Lifting the 15-service-connection minimum for water systems to receive financial support in order to help residents who rely on small, private wells
- Supporting and incentivizing climate resilient resource planning and management
- Focusing on green water-infrastructure projects
- Making the lives of the people most affected by the drought central to federal, state, and local decision-making processes regarding the state’s management of water resources
Read the full report, “Lessons on Climate Change and Poverty From the California Drought,” online here.
For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Liz Bartolomeo at email@example.com or 202.481.8151.