Researcher ORCID Identifier


Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Second Department

International/Intercultural Studies

Reader 1

Susan Phillips

Reader 2

Lako Tongun

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@ 2022 Ella K Meyer


Water injustice is a result of the co-constitution of water and power from the global to the local level. In the small High Desert town of Adelanto, CA, concerns over the water quality and its association with overall quality of life incentivized a collaborative project to investigate dealings of water. A multidimensional analysis of the water system uncovers an instance of water injustice that is complex and linked to water issues regionally in the Inland Southern California area, as well as globally. Globalized discourses, climate change, global capitalism and flows of immigration are some of the global processes linked to water in Adelanto. A dominating narrative of water scarcity and a technocratic approach to water has left little room for local knowledge and community participation while also producing a problematic water system that has ultimately fostered a sense of mistrust in the safety of water among residents. Further, comparison of different sources of information on the water quality reveal misalignment between the reporting of contaminant levels. Testimonies from residents express concerns over the odd taste, smell and appearance of water, and indicate that the issue is likely connected to overall disinvestment from immigrant, low-income communities and other marginalized communities. Findings stress the importance of local knowledge in the face of a technocratic water system that has produced intersecting forms of injustice. Equitable, safe and trustworthy access to drinkable water depends upon developing community water monitoring systems, empowering community members to make political claims, and fostering intimate connection with water.