Can Providing Bathrooms to Homeless Protect California’s Water Quality?

Photo: A homeless camp set up along the Sacramento River near downtown Sacramento. (Source: Water Education Foundation)

Western Water In-Depth: The Connection Between Homelessness And Water Is Gaining Attention Under California Human Right To Water Law And Water Quality Concerns

Each day, people living on the streets and camping along waterways across California face the same struggle – finding clean drinking water and a place to wash and go to the bathroom.

Some find friendly businesses willing to help, or public restrooms and drinking water fountains. Yet for many homeless people, accessing the water and sanitation that most people take for granted remains a daily struggle.

It is a challenge that is increasingly being recognized by water managers and communities as they work to protect water quality in rivers and waterways, and as they strive to meet the spirit of the state’s landmark 2012 human right to water law. Solving access to sanitation may help prevent the spikes in bacteria levels that have been occurring in some waterways that are sources for drinking water.

“It’s clear that people experiencing homelessness today are shortchanged in terms of access to water, sanitation and hygiene in the state right now,” Laura Feinstein, senior researcher with the Pacific Institute, an Oakland-based think tank, said at a State Water Resources Control Board workshop in April on access […]

More about the effects of homelessness on water and public health:

Dozens of shopping carts, trash removed by Kiwanis from Salinas River in Paso Robles

Water board reports highlighted health risk before hepatitis outbreak

Summary
Can Providing Bathrooms to Homeless Protect California’s Water Quality?
Article Name
Can Providing Bathrooms to Homeless Protect California’s Water Quality?
Description
Some find friendly businesses but, for many homeless people, accessing the water and sanitation that most people take for granted remains a daily struggle.
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Publisher Name
Water Education Foundation
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